Rams still have goals to reach


Rams still have goals to reach

ST. LOUIS (AP) The St. Louis Rams are looking at another season without a postseason appearance.

Winners of three straight games before a 36-22 loss Sunday to Minnesota, the Rams had a chance of making the playoffs if they won their final three games. Now, the final two games serve mostly as a tuneup for next season.

``I don't think they're thinking about next year or the future when you come to work on Wednesday and you're digesting the game play,'' coach Jeff Fisher said Monday. ``I think they're thinking about doing the best they can improving their skills.''

St. Louis (6-7-1) still has a chance at its first winning season since 2003. The Rams play at Tampa Bay before ending the regular season at Seattle. With a victory - or tie - against the Seahawks, St. Louis would finish undefeated in NFC West play.

The Rams, who are 4-0-1 in the division, went 0-6 last season. Arizona was the previous team to go undefeated in the West in 2008. The most recent team to go undefeated it division play and not make the playoffs was Oakland. It went 6-0 in 2010 in the AFC West, but finished third with an 8-8 overall record.

Quarterback Sam Bradford said though the playoffs are out of reach, the Rams don't plan to change how they prepare.

``We're going to look at the things that we did well this week (against Minnesota) and try to build on those,'' he said. ``We're going to look at the things that we need to get corrected, we're going to try to improve on those, and we're going to try to get better these next few weeks.

``Win two games and build on that going into next year.''

Several Rams players veered from the ``one game at a time'' mantra Fisher said as his team won to get back into the playoff picture. Leading up to the Minnesota game, some had the idea of playing in the postseason for the first time since 2004.

Running back Steven Jackson, in his ninth season with the Rams, has dealt with the disappointment of his team missing the playoffs previously. The player with the next longest tenure with St. Louis is defensive end Chris Long, in his fifth year.

``I definitely was hoping that we could,'' Jackson said. ``We knew that we had to take each game one at a time and we had to win. (Against the Vikings) we did not get it done and now I have to show these guys how to finish strong.''

The Rams will want to shore up both lines this week. The defensive line couldn't stop Adrian Peterson, who had 212 yards rushing, though they sacked Christian Ponder twice and recorded 10 tackles for a loss.

More troublesome for St. Louis was its offensive line. Bradford was sacked four times, center Scott Wells had a bad snap that the Vikings eventually converted into a field goal and the team managed just 87 yards rushing.

Fisher said the team has options this week.

``Our challenge is do we want to mope around as a result to the loss to the Vikings and be that team.'' Fisher said. ``Or do we want to be the team that's won three of the last four games that's going to go out and try to win another one.

So, that's the approach we're going to be taking.''

Fisher also said that guard Harvey Dahl suffered a torn left bicep and will have surgery Wednesday. He will be placed on injured reserve and the Rams are still deciding what to do with his roster spot. Shelley Smith is likely to be in the starting lineup in his place.


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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise. 


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Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of www.hockeydb.com.


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”