Oh, tough guys, eh?
Rams want you to know that they're not all finesse
Posted: Thursday January 27, 2000 08:05 PM
By John Donovan, CNNSI.com
ATLANTA -- It would be easy to bill Sunday's Super Bowl between the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans as a meeting of strength and finesse, a team bent on smash-mouth football against a team prone to quick strikes.
But, c'mon now. Has The Glance ever been one to take the easy way out?
No, this Super Bowl is not going to be that cut-and-dried, and the reason is this. The Rams, the supposed touchy-feely guys, have some pop-back strength, too. If the Tennessee Titans think they're going to run the ball down the Rams' throats and the Rams will do nothing but gag ... well, the Titans have another thing coming.
"People ask if we can stop them," Rams defensive end Kevin Carter said. "Of course we can. Why wouldn't we be able to?"
If there are any best-kept secrets in this Super Bowl -- and, let's be honest folks, just about everything's out there on the table to be examined in these games -- it is that the Rams have a defense, too. And a darn good run defense.
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In fact, their 74.3 running yards allowed a game is the best in the NFL, and they have two Pro Bowlers on the line: Carter (he topped the NFL with 17 sacks this season) and Pro Bowl alternate D'Marco Farr, a tackle.
"I think we have so many other things to write about," Carter said, trying to explain why no one knows about the Rams' run defense. "Some things are going to be overlooked."
A caveat about the above stat: A big reason that the Rams have allowed so few yards on the ground is that teams are forced to throw against them, 'cause so often teams are behind. The Rams averaged a 10-point lead at halftime this season.
Still, no back in the league put up a 100-yard game against the Rams. Including Eddie George, who had just 68 in the Titans' three-point win against the Rams on Oct. 31.
So, if anyone's thinking the Rams won't hit back when the Titans start their inevitable pounding, just watch. And listen.
On to The Glance, which wonders this: Why does everyone make such a big deal over players "guaranteeing" wins?
The answer: Joe Namath.
T-F answers: 1.) True. We oughta be thawed out by then, too. 2.) And he's lived to tell about it! 3.) Yeah, right. Fork over the $100 and be happy about it.
| Guarantees |
Rams wideout Az-Zahir Hakim, when asked if he could guarantee a win against the Titans, said "Yes." The man believes he and his teammates can win. If he'd have said "No, I can't guarantee it," the headlines would have read HAKIM HAS NO FAITH.
| Who's afraid? |
The Titans are flat-out scared of what Marshall Faulk can do to them, even moreso than what the talented Rams receivers can accomplish. The Rams are afraid of Jevon Kearse throwing off their offense and Steve McNair doing to them what he did to the Colts.
| The lockdown |
We know it's a big game and all and we realize that, especially this year, time is short to prepare. But would it hurt to take the players out from the glass they're under and actually let them do a little interaction with the fans during the league's showcase?
| The cold |
Still a story, and it's getting chillier. It hit the Titans full blast on Wednesday when they had to walk across a freezing hotel parking lot and talk to the media in a freezing tent, while the Rams stayed put in their cozy hotel. More fuel for the ever-burning Titans' underdog fires.
| Flag -- The NFL: |
Nobody cares about us poor media saps. Maybe nobody should (though we have families, too!). But freezing out the Titans? If some of them can't play Sunday because of colds, then you'll really hear it.
| Flattery -- The glitz: |
Once you get past all the hype, one of the good things about coming to a Super Bowl is the stargazing. The Rams and Titans may be pretty much off limits, but if you want to see other players, entertainers and the like, this is a good place to be.
| Flattery -- The calm: |
So far, not one player on either team -- not one player that we know of -- has been picked up for solicitation. It's still early, though.
| Flag -- Tony Horne: |
The Rams wideout made like Atlanta's rep as a warm-weather city -- he disappeared -- for much of the team's meeting with the media on Wednesday. Didn't want to face questions about his suspension earlier this season, maybe?
| Flag -- Media crybabies: |
Not that anyone cares, but maybe the most outrageous beef heard around the media center this week: No Heineken.
| Kurt Warner is handling all his newfound fame with the class of an MVP. |
| If the Rams win, Dick Vermeil oughta retire. It won't get any better than this. |
| Hey, Jeff Fisher is showing he can handle things pretty well himself. |
| Unless someone breaks something, you won't get a whit of real information out of the practices this week. |
| 1.) The Super Bowl is in Tampa next season. |
| 2.) Jeff Fisher was a defensive back under Buddy Ryan with the Bears. |
| 3.) You can park your limo at the big game, if you're a licensed limo company, for free. |
| Answers below. |
| Our daily look at a key matchup in the game |
| The WRs -- Kevin Dyson, Tennessee vs. Isaac Bruce, St. Louis . We're only doing one-on-ones here, 'cause otherwise it's a wipeout. As it is, Bruce wins this hands down, especially given Tennessee's problems getting the ball downfield. Dyson, the Miracle worker, has talent. But he ain't Bruce. |
| "Where's the Heineken?" |
| After today, the players go into near-seclusion for the rest of the week, aside from practices and some must-do interviews with bigwig media outlets. It's a good thing: Some forecasts are calling for 2-8 inches of snow in Atlanta in the next day or so. |
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