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Sunday, 4 November 2007

image for Rams, Linehan feeling pressure of perfect season

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- With the St. Louis Rams resting up on a much deserved bye week, Scott Linehan can't help but to glance over at the schedule for the rest of the season.

One game at a time is hard to focus on when you are chasing perfection.

"We really want to finish 0-16, it's been our goal all season. When we lost Orlando (Pace) for the year and had Steven (Jackson) go down for a few games, I thought that was a good momentum boost to this goal," the Rams coach said.

The team is so focused on finishing with the perfect mark that all the star players on the roster are pulling their weight to see the season out.

"When I hurt my ribs, I went over to the trainer and asked if he could punch me a couple times on the other side just to balance out the pain," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We're all doing our part here, Steven Jackson could have been back six weeks ago but drug this injury thing out and the entire offensive line, guys like Leonard Little and so on, they are manning up too - sitting out games we can easily win. This is a group effort."

The team has come close several times this year in ending their string of eight consecutive losses. Last week the Rams built a 14-0 deficit to the upstart Cleveland Browns before rallying to lay down and take another loss by the score of 27-20.

They also dodged victories against their division rivals San Francisco and Arizona.

"All this week I keep telling the guys, we have to put forth more efforts like the one against Seattle. We can't have these close calls, history is at stake. Luckily we have a road game against a good New Orleans Saints team coming up next weekend so it will be a great test to see how bad we can be," Linehan said.

However after the Saints, the Rams easy schedule takes a suddenly scary turn with dates against the 49ers, Falcons, and Bengals.

"I hate to look ahead, but assuming the Saints kick our ass like they should - we have to focus against some of the teams coming up on our schedule," Rams wide receiver Issac Bruce said. "I mean the Falcons and Niners are teams that would pride themselves on being worse than us and we can't have that. Cincinnati is scary too, those guys might try to tackle us and run into their own guys on accident.. and Chad Johnson might be too busy bitching at their coach, that screams trap game."

Meanwhile the team will continue to use their bye week to heal up and chase history, while two teams square off in Indianapolis for the right to be christened the best team in football.

"Let them have that cheap record, we're more worried about Miami. They are pretty bad too and I don't think there is a guy in that locker room that wants to share a record with a quarterback named Cleo Lemon," Bulger added.

Luckily for the Rams and coach Linehan, the Dolphins will not face them until sometime next season.

"That'd be a scary game, we might have to punt on 1st and 2nd down and sign Mike Vanderjagt to kick field goals.. I'm not sure we're on that level just yet."

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