Winless Rams finally getting some players back Print
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Wednesday, 17 October 2007 11:33
NFL Headline News

 ST. LOUIS (AP) -Randy McMichael looked around the huddle in practice Wednesday and Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson and Isaac Bruce looked back at the tight end. The St. Louis Rams are still winless, but finally there is some hope.
``It's been a frustrating year, all the losing, and it seems like you're always losing a teammate,'' McMichael said. ``We lose teammates for weeks at a time, so it will make you a little happy to see some of your guys back out there.''
Bulger is back after broken ribs forced him to miss two games, a pair of losses in which backup Gus Frerotte threw eight interceptions.
Jackson and Bruce were still limited in practice after missing two games each, with Bruce a better bet to return this week at Seattle. Coach Scott Linehan said Jackson, recovering from a partially torn groin, had an ``outside chance'' of playing.
``He's starting to show signs of returning,'' Linehan said. ``It's very encouraging, we talked about it as a team. We're adding players, slowly but surely.''
St. Louis (0-6) has been hit hardest on offense, with backup center Andy McCollum likely to become the 23rd starter. Brett Romberg, the starting center, did not practice Wednesday and could miss the Seattle game with a sprained ankle although Linehan doesn't expect him to be out long.
``There's only so much bad luck one team can have,'' McMichael said. ``I really don't think I've seen injuries hit a team like it's hit us every week.''
Still, McMichael prefers to be optimistic and said he wasn't alone in that feeling during a spirited practice.
``The guys were all amped up and everybody was working hard and you could tell the crispness,'' McMichael said. ``It was like everybody felt like we were 0-0 and we were starting our season from this game.''
Offense, which was supposed to be the Rams' strength, instead is the weakness. St. Louis is 29th in the NFL in points and has been outscored 159-73.
Before the season, Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck expected a lot more from the Rams.
``I really thought they would be a sleeper team, potentially to go to the Super Bowl,'' Hasselbeck said. ``To see their record where it is, is surprising.''
The Rams have been hit hard on the offensive line, with linemen Orlando Pace and Mark Setterstrom out for the year and top backup Todd Steussie out half the season with a broken foot. Wide receivers Drew Bennett, Dante Hall, Dane Looker amd Bruce were all sidelined last week.
That meant unexpected playing time for return man Brandon Williams, signed last week and a prominent role for Marques Hagans, the emergency third quarterback the first four weeks, who dropped a touchdown pass.
``You never want to use it as an excuse, but we've been decimated by injuries,'' said Looker, who missed the last two games with a deep thigh bruise. ``The backups, they can't be backups, they've got to be starters waiting to play.''
The Rams haven't given up yet, with their bye week coming up after two more games. Plus they're in the weakest division in the NFC with Arizona and Seattle, both 3-3, tied for first.
``As bleak as it's been, we're only three games out of first place,'' Looker said. ``You win this game, you're two games out and that's got to be our mindset.''
 

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