Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Though Slightly Burned, Rams Still Can Cook in '96, Brooks Insists

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Though Slightly Burned, Rams Still Can Cook in '96, Brooks Insists

Article excerpt

At 1-4, his Rams may be a little brown around the edges, but coach Rich Brooks insists, "We're not toast for this year. We certainly look like we are, but we're not."

Never mind that the Rams have all the trappings of a bad football team. They rank 30th - that's last - in total offense in the National Football League. They rank 27th in total defense. They are near the bottom of the league in scoring offense (27th), scoring defense (22nd), takeaway/giveaway ratio (tied for 25th).

As a topper, Brooks is starting five rookies on offense. Nonetheless, Brooks accentuated the positive Monday, less than 24 hours after Sunday's 28-11 spanking by the San Francisco 49ers. "If we go down to Carolina and find a way to win, and play Jacksonville and find a way to win that game, all of a sudden things start to look a little different," Brooks said. "There isn't any reason we can't do that as long as we take care of business. I'm not going to hang the curtain on the season and say, `Well, let's look forward to '97 and '98.' I'm still looking forward to '96. I believe we can still make some things happen and make it interesting." If nothing else, the Rams face a more favorable schedule over the final two-thirds of the season. Their first five opponents have a combined record of 15-10. Their final 11 foes are only 22-37. Included in the latter group are two games apiece against 0-5 Atlanta and 1-5 New Orleans, and three games against the '95 expansion teams - Carolina and Jacksonville. (Although at 3-2, Carolina isn't playing much like an expansion team.) Baltimore (2-3) and Chicago (2-4) aren't shaping up like world-beaters either. "We have a lot of games left with teams that are similar to us," Brooks said. "This team is capable of putting a string of wins together mid to late in the season. There's no reason we can't turn this around this season from this point on." There's no time like the present. The Rams still can make something of the season, but with each passing week that becomes more difficult. …

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