|"My goal is to play again," Rams cornerback Ron Bartell said. "I'm fully prepared to play again. I'm approaching it as such that I will play again." (US PRESSWIRE)|
It took just 60 minutes, plenty of sloppy football and a season's worth of injuries to dash the hopes of a promising 2011 campaign for the Rams, who missed the playoffs and the NFC West Division title by just one game a year ago. In their Week 1 matchup against the Eagles, St. Louis didn't just lose on the scoreboard. Gone for the season are wide receiver Danny Amendola and Tuesday cornerback Ron Bartell joined him on injured reserve after suffering a fractured bone in his lower neck.
"My goal is to play again," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Tuesday. "I'm fully prepared to play again. I'm approaching it as such that I will play again." Bartell added: "There's absolutely no way I could come back and play this year. It takes time just for the bone to heal."
In addition to Amendola and Bartell, running back Steven Jackson could missed the Monday night game against the Giants with a quadriceps injury, franchise quarterback Sam Bradford bruised his right index finger (good news: he plans to play this week), and according so the Associated Press, cornerback Bradley Fletcher has a sprained toe that might limit him, and offensive tackle Jason Smith has a sprained left ankle. The team had feared Smith, the second overall pick of the 2009 draft, had a high ankle sprain which would have sidelined him for as long as a month.
"There's a lot there, no question," Spagnuolo said Monday. "Nobody's going to bury their head in the sand, and we're not going to go away. We didn't envision beginning like that and we certainly didn't envision losing all these guys. …
The Post-Dispatch's Bernie Miklasz echoes Spagnuolo's sentiments, writing that injuries aren't an excuse.
"Only one game into the season, and the Rams are hurting. And it's a shame. By now you're aware of the injuries suffered in the 31-13 loss to the Eagles. It's a long list. But it's important to recognize something: it's OK to feel sorry for the Rams, but no one else will. Not their opponents, not the fans of other teams, not the rivals in the NFC West, not the coaches who are studying video to find ways to attack the Rams' new weaknesses. And the injury excuse won't hold up."
Exactly. Good teams find a way to win with backups, and if the Rams want to get back to the postseason, that's what they'll have to do. First up: seeing what veteran cornerback Al Harris has left in the tank because he'll see a lot more playing time now that Bartell is on the shelf for the year.
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