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Near misses aren't good enough for Rams

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Sept. 22, 2010 @ 6:33 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Is it too early for the Rams to be facing a "must win" situation  against the Redskins at home this Sunday?

Hell no.

No matter how close they come, the Rams are still losing. Week after week, even against weak opponents like the Raiders.

Close just doesn't cut it anymore, especially considering the disappearing acts on both sides of the ball in the second halves of both the Rams' losses so far this season.

Last Sunday in Oakland, the Raiders adjusted at halftime by deciding to send eight men in the box after Steven Jackson, who had 67 yards on 14 carries in the first half and looked like he was on his way to a monster outing. The Rams' offense countered by retreating into the same bland shell that it has been in more often than not under the direction of coordinator Pat Shurmur.

The Rams gained only 12 yards in the third quarter against Oakland. Granted, their weapons on offense are limited, with the lack of an outside threat being especially apparent in Week Two.

But 12 yards in the third quarter is pathetic.

That the Rams made both the Cardinals and Raiders sweat big-time bullets is no longer some sort of consolation. Both the Cardinals and Raiders were eminently beatable. But the Rams just keep losing, 27 of their last 28 games.

I still think there's a lot to like about Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, but in my mind his grace period is over.

With four of their first six games at home, a couple of early victories in that span could work wonders for the team as a drawing card that's genuinely worth the hefty price of admission at pro football games these days.

The Rams can beat the Redskins, who allowed the Texans to score the final 20 points in their overtime loss to Houston in Week Two.

The Rams know something about self-destruction. They've already turned it into an art form this season, and there isn't even any frost on the ground yet.

One other thing before signing off: Show me the blitzes!

After blitzing like crazy against the Cardinals — a standard tactic Spagnuolo capitalized on as the highly successful defensive coordinator of the Giants — the Rams' defense opted for a much more passive approach against the Raiders.

Enough with all this timidity. The Rams need to be bolder on both sides of the ball. Much bolder. They need to start being the team that makes adjustments that make a difference instead of always being the victim.

They need to show some creativity and be the aggressors. After all, what do they have to lose — except just another game?

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