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PRO FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : RAMS : Newman Blames Mental Mistakes

November 16, 1994|MIKE REILLEY

The Rams' defense ranks 16th overall in the NFL, but safety Anthony Newman is concerned that the defense ranks 27th in the NFL in third-down efficiency. It has given up 62 first downs in 133 attempts by opponents (46.6%). Only Philadelphia (74 of 158 for 46.8%) has a lower rating.

Newman blamed mental mistakes for letting teams off the hook on third down.

"We're not taking care of business," Newman said. "We're dropping coverage, we're not putting pressure on the quarterback. It's the whole defense."

The Raiders converted eight of 16 third downs in their 20-17 victory Sunday, including a 12-yard pass to Tim Brown on third-and-five that set up Jeff Jaeger's 44-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, the eventual game-winner.

"We fight so hard to get teams in third-and-long and we think we have them," Newman said. "We get lazy and we're not in it mentally. We'll get that corrected."

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Remember Shane Conlan's pile-driving hit on Raider running back Harvey Williams that saved a touchdown Sunday? Last season, Conlan might not even have been in on a fourth-and-goal from the Rams' one.

Conlan, considered one of the league's best defenders against the rush, was routinely pulled out in goal-line situations by the Rams' coaching staff, who said the middle linebacker was just too beat up to continue on a physical down.

"It was kind of puzzling," Conlan said. "That's something I do pretty well. It was weird, but I'm sure they (coaches) had their reasons. It was never really explained to me."

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