ST. LOUIS (AP) -The St. Louis Rams' home-field advantage is long gone, and Steven Jackson believes a drab dome atmosphere is a contributing factor in the team's 0-5 showing in the Edward Jones Dome.
Jackson knows nothing can be done about an injury-riddled offense. But a new sound system and updated playlist perhaps featuring some hip-hop music rather than stale '80s hair band rock might just inject enough energy for the losses to end.
``I know a lot of people are saying if we were winning it wouldn't be such a focus, but that's the thing about it,'' Jackson said. ``When you lose, everything gets magnified.
``If our fans are not behind us and the music's not pumping and the players are not excited, you've definitely got a lot of reasons why we're not winning.''
The Rams (2-9) certainly have more pressing problems, ruling out quarterback Marc Bulger with a concussion on Thursday after he failed medical tests. They could have five replacement starters on Sunday, with center Brett Romberg, wide receiver/kick returner Dante Hall and James Hall all nursing ankle injuries, and cornerback Fakhir Brown hurting his tailbone.
But atmosphere, Jackson maintains, is something that can be improved.
``A Disney song would sound good if you have a good sound system,'' Jackson said. ``Maybe we can get a band. We don't have a mascot, we don't have anything.''
He's not alone in this endeavor. Defensive tackle La'Roi Glover yelled ``Go Jack!'' as Jackson laid out his plan to reporters.
``You travel to a lot of different stadiums and you kind of feel the atmosphere,'' Glover said. ``We just want to make it a fun, good-time atmosphere.''
Perhaps facing another scuffling team also might help.
Bobby Petrino, a coaching buddy of the Rams' Scott Linehan since the two were together on the Idaho coaching staff from 1989-90, has had a disastrous first year in the NFL to nearly match Linehan's. The Falcons (3-8) have been scrambling since before the start of training camp due to Michael Vick's legal problems, have similar offensive line injury woes, and have been outscored 62-20 by the Colts and Buccaneers in the last two games at home.
``There hasn't been just one thing that I think that stands out,'' Petrino said. ``Certainly, we've had a lot of controversy starting with the first day of preseason. The game is still the same. I enjoy that.''
The Falcons and Rams have a lot of woes in common.
Nine players have started on the offensive line for the Falcons. It's a lot like the Rams, who have three starters on injured reserve and have used 16 combinations.
``It's been hard to overcome, simply because you miss the continuity,'' Petrino said. ``Also your ability to grow as an offense as the season goes on and add some things and take advantage of some things goes by the wayside.
``You're actually reducing things that you do and cutting things out because 'this young man' has only played one game and we want to simplify it.'''
Bulger missed two games earlier in the year with broken ribs and now the concussion has knocked him out again, leaving the Rams with veteran Gus Frerotte in charge. Frerotte is still reeling a bit after missing two chances to beat the Seahawks in the final minute near the goal line, misfiring on a pass to wide-open Isaac Bruce on first down and fumbling the snap on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the final minute of a five-point loss.
``You've seen it happen to people on the goal line, guys get fired up down there and sometimes those things happen,'' Frerotte said. ``It was shocking and disappointing to me.''
The Falcons are sticking for the time being with Joey Harrington, twice benched, on Sunday, even though Byron Leftwich has returned to practice from a tailbone injury.
``We tried to make a change in the middle of the season and liked what Byron did in the first half at New Orleans, then he got injured,'' Petrino said. ``We tried to have him come back and it just didn't work out, so Joey has been the guy and he'll play for us.''
The Rams have lost at home to the Panthers, 49ers and Cardinals, all sub-.500. Sunday's low-wattage matchup will be the third game blacked out on local television because it did not sell out.
The franchise had sold out every game since moving to St. Louis in 1995 before last season's finale, on Christmas Eve, against the five-win Redskins. Now, lots of empty seats have become commonplace.
Linehan's not sold on Jackson's suggestion for getting the fans energized, and thus energizing a sagging franchise. Linehan believes coaches and players should concentrate on where they can make a difference, namely on the field.
``We can create the atmosphere by finishing the game and getting wins under our belt and getting people in there,'' Linehan said. ``It's no secret, we have to finish out games and get the home winning streak here and the atmosphere will change dramatically when that happens.''

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Most Passing Yards Prop Odds Will Tom Brady record the most passing yards in the Conference Championship games this Sunday?
Thumbnail NFC Championship Game Spread Moves The point spread in Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles has moved off a key number.
Thumbnail Bettors Split on NFC Title Game After the Eagles upset a public favorite last weekend in the Divisional Round, public bettors are split on whether or not Philly will thrive in the dog role again...
Thumbnail Early Money on Pats to Cover in AFC Early money is coming in on the New England Patriots to cover the spread against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game...
Thumbnail Eagles to Play Underdog Role Again The Eagles will have another opportunity to wear their dog masks this week as they've opened up as an underdog against the Vikings in...

NFL Team Pages