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 ST. LOUIS (AP) -An avalanche of little things have added up to the big hole the winless St. Louis Rams are in. That was the message players got from an agitated coach Scott Linehan at the end of practice on Thursday.
The Rams were supposed to be a contender in the NFC West in Linehan's second season after going 8-8 last year, but have been dragged down by injuries and crucial breakdowns. They're tied for the franchise's worst start, and Linehan allowed the frustration to show while stalking around during the post-practice huddle.
``He was just doing what a coach does,'' wide receiver Isaac Bruce said. ``Sometimes you have to reprimand. Guys have to be held accountable and we need to be self-motivators.''
The rant, inaudible to media perhaps 50 yards away, came a day after several players were buoyed by the return of stars Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson and Bruce to practice. Bulger will start on Sunday at Seattle after missing two games with two broken ribs, and Bruce is back after missing two games with a hamstring injury.
Jackson will likely need another week for a partially torn groin.
The Rams got another player back on Thursday, with center Brett Romberg determined to shake off a sprained ankle with an attitude Linehan could appreciate.
``Even the day I did it, I said there's no way I'm going to be missing a game,'' Romberg said. ``I don't care how bad it is, I've got to find a way.
``I've got a lot of guys sweating for me and bleeding for me and the least I can do is give them everything I've got.''
Linehan wouldn't discuss what was said after practice, saying ``It was between the team and me.'' He did, however, belittle players feeling positive vibes from the previous day, noting that it's a bottom-line business.
``I can tell you it ain't good to lose and nobody feels good about it,'' Linehan said. ``Team spirits will be much better once we start winning.''
s the go-ahead score two weeks ago in a 34-31 loss to the Cardinals.
Romberg said Linehan was going for a ``micro'' rather than ``macro'' managing approach, imploring players to search for any edge.
``When you're 0-6, there's always things that get highlighted,'' Romberg said. ``We're looking for reasons to win and reasons to become successful, whether it be running to plays or finishing blocks or whatever.
``There's always something you can do, and you've got to find answers.''
Bruce isn't big on speeches, emphasizing that it's up to the players to end the losses.
``You don't get to this level and need someone to motivate you. You have to be self-motivating,'' Bruce said. ``You have to go out and pick something in particular that you want to get better at, and you have to go do it.
``If you don't, you won't be here that long.''
le did not practice because of a sore big toe on his left foot, but is expected to play.

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