By Jim Thomas
So where was the defense? It was just a rumor Saturday.
The running game was non-existent. Special teams were nowhere to be found.
Clock management was questionable at the end of the first half. And the second-guessers will have a field day mulling over the decision to replace Kurt Warner with Dave Barr in the fourth quarter.
Yeah, the offensive pyrotechnics were great, but there is plenty to work on for the St. Louis Rams.
“Had to fire the defensive coordinator at halftime,” Mike Martz said. “I think he’s at a bar someplace, drinking his sorrows away.”
Jose de Jesus Ortiz
Still bitter about the Rams’ move to Los Angeles, Greg Gebert initially didn’t want to attend the Legends of the Dome game. The more he thought about it, though, the more he realized he couldn’t pass up a chance to see the superstars who brought him so much joy.
Gebert eventually bought a pair of tickets and made the drive east from Wentzville with his 4-year-old son, Tyler. Then as the clock ticked closer to kickoff for the flag football game Saturday afternoon, he saw Kurt Warner on the surface where the legendary quarterback once led the Greatest Show on Turf.
Gebert cradled his son, rushed toward Warner and asked if he would take a selfie with him.
“Sure,” Warner said with a gentle, patient smile as fans crowded him even though he had already signed hundreds of autographs during a VIP reception.
By Sam Farmer
Camp location: Irvine
Hello: The Rams made a power play to move up to the No. 1 spot to draft California quarterback Jared Goff. In need of receiving targets, the club drafted receiver Pharoh Cooper and tight end Tyler Higbee.
Goodbye: A fresh start in L.A. included letting go of familiar defensive fixtures Chris Long and James Laurinaitis. Corner Janoris Jenkins turned down a five-year deal from the Rams and signed a more lucrative one with the Giants, as did safety Rodney McLeod with the Eagles.
Big questions: How quickly can Goff secure the starting job, seeing as he’s making the transition to playing under center? How will tailback Todd Gurley build on his outstanding rookie year?
BY NORM SANDERS
If you closed your eyes for a moment and just paid attention to the sights and sounds Saturday inside what used to be known as the TWA Dome, it all seemed too familiar.
St. Louis Rams pregame player introductions with the haunting beat of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” blaring in the background. Nothing had changed.
Clouds of smoke and chutes of flames filled the tunnel as Rams players were introduced. Isaac Bruce. Kurt Warner. Torry Holt. Orlando Pace. Adam Timmerman. Jeff Wilkins. Coaches Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz.
ST. LOUIS — Jeff Schnurbusch spent his hard-earned money on his beloved St. Louis Rams for more than 20 years, but he has made his final two purchases toward the team whose owner broke his and thousands of others’ hearts when the franchise moved to Los Angeles.
One was a ticket to Saturday’s Legends of the Dome game that honored the great Rams teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The other was a custom-made Rams jersey with one clear message.
That would be Stan Kroenke, perhaps the most hated man in Missouri. As much as Saturday’s event was a celebration for most of the Rams legends that lit this city on fire starting in 1999, it also served as another painful memory of the team that the city now has lost, the second time in 30 years an NFL left St. Louis behind.
By Dan Caesar
It’s only a flag football game, but Saturday’s contest at what used to be known as the TWA and Edward Jones domes figures to be a memorable one for those involved — including more than the players.
The “Legends of the Dome” game is to showcase players and coaches from the Rams’ heydays in St. Louis, their “Greatest Show on Turf” days of the 1999-2003, and serves as a sendoff to pro football in St. Louis now that the team has left for Los Angeles.
It probably will be the final time many former Rams will play in St. Louis, and also shapes up to be the last Rams broadcast for Steve Savard — the team’s radio play-by-play broadcaster for the past 16 seasons.
By Bill Plaschke
LOS ANGELES — They are a different kind of team, in a different kind of battle, one that even the toughest days of the Rams’ impending training camp can’t match.
In a retirement home in Anaheim, the greatest Rams coach fights to find his memory.
In an apartment in downtown Seattle, his granddaughter fights to make sure the football world doesn’t forget him.
Chuck Knox, 84, suffering from dementia, spends his days in a pleasant cottage with wife Shirley, his striking blue eyes bright, his warm smile strong, but his mind faded, such that he recognizes few visitors and has little contact with old football friends.