Friday, December 31, 2010
Rams move indoors after tornado siren
ST. LOUIS -- A tornado warning siren alerted the St. Louis Rams to bad weather, sending them indoors to finish practice Friday at Rams Park.
The Rams (7-8) ended their preparations for Sunday night's winner-take-all game in Seattle against the Seahawks (6-9) with the NFC West Division championship going to the winner.
A powerful storm with heavy rain and wind swept through the St. Louis area in the late morning and early afternoon.
"We were hoping to get it in before anything came. But that was the education I got, as soon as you hear the horns, don't take any chances," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "My nature would have been, 'oh well we can wait a little while. I don't see anything out there.' But they say they can come up quick.
"Then I figured, once they heard the horns, that's all they'd be thinking about were horns, so we immediately came in here."
Rookie left tackle Rodger Saffold acknowledged the weather was something else.
"It was weird, hearing the sirens going off and lightning all over the place," Saffold said. "It was like a monsoon out there. All the weather we've gotten this week, is kind of what it's going to be like in Seattle."
However, Spagnuolo said the Rams were not affected by the change in plans.
"We got outside for a little bit; it was good to be on the grass, it was soft and all that because we've been in here a lot," Spagnuolo said of practicing indoors. "We got a little fresh air. Then we came in here. We had a good practice. Everybody practiced. That's the first time I've been able to say that in a while."
Spagnuolo liked that his players seemed loose during the workout, despite the fact the Rams have not won in Seattle since 2004. That was the last year the Rams made the playoffs and beat the Seahawks in a wild-card game.
"It's all about grabbing the prize and we don't have anything now. It's great we've got an opportunity in the 16th game," Spagnuolo said. "Aside from that, we'll try to finish it and get the final deal."
The long playoff drought is something running back Steven Jackson didn't think would happen. He has not been in the playoffs since his rookie season in 2004. He never imagined he'd be waiting this long to go back.
"I thought it would be an every year thing," Jackson said. "I thought the playoffs would be something I'm accustomed to. But God willing, if we make it back this time, I won't take it for granted."
Kicker Josh Brown played five seasons for Seattle until he signed a free-agent contract in 2008 with St. Louis.
"I love the atmosphere out there," Brown said. "It's one of those things where you got to go and be focused and the task at hand has to be on the forefront of your mind because it's going to be loud, loud, loud. It's a bit of a rowdy crowd."
Linebacker James Laurinaitis said he thinks the Rams are ready for prime time.
"Guys are loose; they are confident in our game and excited to go out there and play," Laurinaitis said. "We could have played this thing on Wednesday. It's going to be exciting to go out there and see what we can do."