Rams' Lyght reaches Super Bowl after lean years
Posted: Tuesday January 25, 2000 01:15 AM
Todd Lyght remembers the old days in Anaheim and the old losing ways that dogged the team in two different cities. After eight seasons of frustration, the St. Louis Rams' cornerback has seen the bright lights of the postseason in his ninth year in the National Football League. Following the Rams' 11-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game, CNNSI.com caught up with Lyght.
1. You're one of the few guys who were with the team in Anaheim and St. Louis. What were the final days like in California?
It was a tough situation because (Los Angeles) is such a beautiful city, but it really wasn't working out for the organization. The move to St. Louis was good. At that time, a lot of guys didn't want to leave and go to the Midwest, they didn't want to relocate. But we had to get it going because it was big business. Once we got to St. Louis and all the fans came out and supported us the way they did, I think guys really started to like the transition.
2. Describe your feelings as the Rams continued to go through losing seasons.
Very demoralizing. Year in and year out, we would not accumulate a good record and it became very tough, at times, just to get motivated to play. We would go out and we wouldn't matchup personnel-wise, sometimes we'd be outcoached, and it seemed like the organization wasn't being run at the highest level. But that's not the case anymore.
3. You played at Notre Dame where winning is customary. What kind of adjustment was it for you to enter into a losing situation?
Very difficult at first. I remember I used to have long talks with my dad about losing and how to deal with it. It was a very tough period for me, especially the first two years. But I think I grew from that experience.
4. As a pro, what was the biggest adjustment for you on the field?
I think the arm strength of the quarterbacks, along with the accuracy. Playing at Notre Dame, you guard a lot of good wide receivers, but quarterbacks are never able to put the ball precisely in positions where you can't get it. Only the receivers can make the play and I think that was the biggest adjustment.
5. Off the field, what was the biggest challenge going from college to the pros?
Super Bowl shuffle: The Rams offense may have their own dance, but Todd Lyght is only interested in winning games. AP
Basically, time management. When you're a young player, you want to have fun so you tend not to get your rest like you should. That's natural with all young players. But as you grow and mature, you move away from things like that.
6. Who's the toughest quarterback you've ever faced and why?
Steve Young. He has the ability to move in and out of the pocket, he's left-handed. Usually, you don't see too many left-handed quarterbacks and the delivery comes out differently.
7. Going into this year's training camp, did you get the sense that the Rams could be this good?
I thought that we could have a decent club, maybe win 10 games. But we were sitting at the halfway point at 6-2, and we thought we could beat anybody at that point. That's when the team knew that we could get this thing done.
8. Was there any one particular game that you felt was a turning point, maybe like beating San Francisco (Rams had lost 17 consecutive to the 49ers before this season)?
There were a lot of points like that during the season. There were so many growing periods where we just continued to get better and believe in ourselves and the system. I think our coaching staff has done a great job of keeping everybody focused.
9. The offensive guys have the "Bob-and-Weave" dance. Do you defensive guys sometimes feel cheated?
No, we don't feel cheated. The offensive guys can have all the glory in the world and we don't care. We just want to win ballgames.
10. You're facing a Tennessee club that you've seen. How do you approach the game this time around?
I just think we have to approach it the same way we have been -- with a lot of focus and attention to detail. They've got a great team, great coaching staff and we'll have to go back, look at the tape from when we played them earlier and see what we did to lose. I know we had a lot of penalties offensively, and a lot of turnovers, too. So, we're going to have to make up for those mistakes on Sunday.
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