A Tale of Two Seasons
Rams QBs

Posted Nov 23, 2002


The 2002 NFL season

“It’s was the best of times… it was the worst of times.”

For all we know, Charles Dickens penned his classic French revolutionary metaphor after time traveling to the year 2002 and catching the Rams first 10 games of the season.

A TALE OF TWO SEASONS.
By Rams Nation's Rudy Hiers


The 2002 NFL season

“It’s was the best of times… it was the worst of times.”

For all we know, Charles Dickens penned his classic French revolutionary metaphor after time traveling to the year 2002 and catching the Rams first 10 games of the season.

One thing’s for certain though, just like another famous Dickensian character Ebenezer Scrooge, the once slumbering Rams through the last 10 games have been haunted by several spirits.

The ghost of seasons past:

0-5? Egads. What was this…? The 1990-ish Rams? Did we walk through a time warp? After starting the season as a consensus choice to reach their 3rd super bowl in 4 years, the Rams got off to the franchises worst start in 40 years. Not even the teen denizens of Elm Street suffered through the kind of nightmare the Rams had the first month of the season.

Turnovers.

Well, the Rams play of the first 10 games appears to give credence to the age old adage that “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks” for after fighting their way through tsunami’s of turnovers the past several seasons, the Rams continue on their quest to keep less talented opponents in games by continuing to cough the ball up in crucial situations. The Rams in fact, have committed two or more turnovers in 22 of their last 27 games. It boggles the mind to consider what this team would have accomplished the last three years, if they had been more accomplished in terms of ball security.

The ghost of season present:

Injuries.

Paging Dr’s Pierce and McIntire.

Is this Ram’s Park or the 4077th?

The injuries to Warner, Pace, Williams, Faulk, et al:

Do you realize how many ALL-PRO man games the Rams have lost to injury this year? The number isn’t pretty. Of course, the injury list in and of itself didn’t give the Rams license to waltz and stumble around the first 5 games as though they were extras in “Night of the living dead”, but it did without a doubt play a small part in how the team performed over the first 5 contests… I mean, watching the Rams try to field a competent offensive line the first 5 games of the season, was like attending a 3-card monty convention.

Can’t you picture Jim Hanifan standing over a TV tray on the side line with 5 sheets of paper, arms rapidly moving the little sheets of paper across the table from side to side muttering “let’s move the right tackle to the left side, replace the right tackle with our backup center, move our left guard to center, our right guard to left guard, and a partridge in a pear tree”

The scheduling:

Now, we all know the league office and the Rams don’t get along, but this was ridiculous.

Opening up on the road in Denver (league’s #2 defense) then following that up with a home game against the Giants (leagues #5 defense... With the Giants getting 10 days of rest to prepare for the Rams due to their having played on Thursday night opening weekend ) and then sending them back on the road the next week against Tampa ( leagues #1 defense...With them having an extra day to prepare against the Rams due to the game being on Monday night ) Coming home the next week on a short week to face the Cowboys ( leagues #10 defense) then sending them back out on the road in week 5 to face their biggest division rival, the San Francisco 49ers ( who conveniently happened to have their bye week scheduled the week before, thus giving them two full weeks to prepare for the Rams )

I know that “there’s no crying in football” and I’m not an Art Bell listener, but if one didn’t know better, one would get the sneaking suspicion that the scales were a bit “tilted” towards the Rams opponents just a little the first month of the season. This is no excuse mind you, because the Rams should have just taken care of business, but the schedule didn’t help.

The ghost of season’s future:

Bruce Springsteen once wrote “from small things momma, big things one day come”

We saw it in 1999, when a journeyman grocery bagger/QB rolled onto the scene a relative unknown, and waltzed off the field the next January, not only the league MVP, but a world champion.

Fast forward to 2002

The grocery bagger/QB who now has garnered two league MVP’s and two NFC championships, comes off the field, his right pinky finger having more curves in it than a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Surgery/Pins and 6-8 weeks the word is... Gloom sets in, darkness descends, and the 0-3 Rams soon faced the type of adversity that usually overwhelms teams.

Backup Jaime Martin steps forward, only to be ineffective and eventually sidelined by a knee injury he suffers through one of the most disturbing defeats in Ram History, a 37-13 embarrassment in San Francisco. Now the Rams were without their top two QB’s on the depth chart, and the team coming to town next, the 4-0 Oakland Raiders, just happened to be the hottest team in the NFL at the time.

Signed by Rams 1/12/01 ... spent two weeks on Falcons' practice squad ... spent one week on Rams' practice squad in 2000 ... spent 2000 training camp with New Orleans Saints ... drafted by the Saints in the sixth round (168th overall) of 2000 NFL Draft. 2000: Spent one week on Rams' practice squad ... spent two weeks on Atlanta Falcons' practice squad. Has not thrown a pass in the NFL

Gee, non-impressive resume right?

Well, let’s take a look at another set of numbers then…

Games 5
Record 5-0
Attempts 173
Completions 113
Comp Pct 65.3%
Yards 1496
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