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NFL Blitz: Winless Wonders Hope to Find a Way

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They stand alone.

Or maybe it's sit alone. Or squat alone. Or lie prone on the basement floor alone. Alone together in their misery.

Three NFL teams own 0-6 records. Three teams have not found a way to get a win.

Maybe it's no surprise that the St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to struggle. They have new coaches, quarterback issues and a variety of problems that crop up weekly and keep them parked in the loss column.

Explaining the Tennessee Titans' decline and fall takes a little more digging. They're not only 0-6, they come off a 59-0 loss to the New England Patriots in the worst beating in club history.

The Rams at least have had chances to win. They lost 9-7 to the Washington Redskins and 23-20 last Sunday in overtime to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The latter one was particularly painful because the Rams tied the game with four seconds left in regulation on Josh Brown's 27-yard field goal.

They were at the Jaguars' 9-yard line with 15 seconds left and a chance to win but they needed to spike the ball on first down to stop the clock and Marc Bulger threw incomplete on second down. The Rams kicked the tying field goal on third down.

They lost the coin toss in overtime and never saw the football again. Jacksonville moved steadily from its own 20 to the Rams' 18 and Josh Scobee kicked a 36-yard field goal.

That extended the Rams' losing streak to 16 games, longest currently in the NFL. That a full season's worth of defeats spread over two years.

"Let's face it, we're all human. A win boosts you," says Steve Spagnuolo, the Rams' first-year head coach.

The Rams likely will have to keep looking. Next up: The 5-0 Indianapolis Colts, who are 13 ½ point favorites.

"This is not a walkover by any means although all of the experts will say that," says Colts president Bill Polian. "But the experts don't play. So all that is is a lot of hot air."

The Buccaneers, under rookie coach Raheem Morris, tore down a good part of the roster and play that way. No more Derrick Brooks. No more Jeff Garcia. No more Joey Galloway. They flirted with a victory when they played the Redskins and led 10-0 at halftime but fell 16-13 at FedExField. They've lost 10 games in a row dating to last season.

"It is tough mentally," says defensive tackle Chris Hovan. "You have to put yourself in a position to win. We have to put the past behind us, move on, go forward and get our first victory."

Good luck. They meet the Patriots Sunday in London, with New England coming off a performance in which it recorded the most points in a single game in its history. Tom Brady threw six touchdown passes against the Titans and the Pats notched eight TDs.

"That's the Patriots," says Bucs defensive end Stylez G. White. "I was surprised but I wasn't impressed because I'm used to them doing stuff like that. That makes sense."

The Rams were in a long, slow decline that began in 2005 and turned into a freefall last year. In 2004, they won the NFC West at 12-4. They have 13 wins since 2006 and that's when they got eight of them.

The Titans' collapse seems nearly inexplicable. True, they lost an outstanding defensive tackle, Albert Haynesworth, in free agency to the Redskins. They also saw a terrific defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, leave to coach the Detroit Lions. And they've had a rash of injuries in the secondary. And a tough schedule. But 0-6? They've got a bye this week so their record won't get any worse.

They get little sympathy from Haynesworth, whom they made a limited effort to retain.

"They made their choice," he says.

Jeff Fisher, the longest tenured NFL coach, has been on the job since 1994. He took the team to a Super Bowl and an NFL-best 13-3 record in 2008. That magic seems gone and owner Bud Adams has made threatening noises about changes if this season doesn't feature some sort of turnaround.

"If there's going to be any kind of discussion and communication between me and the owner, that's between me and our owner," Fisher says.

He's facing some pressure to bench Kerry Collins and give a long look to quarterback Vince Young but doesn't seem inclined to do so. He may use this bye week more to let the players refresh themselves and refocus than to put them through rigorous work in an attempt to get this right.

"You have to take advantage of the bye week from a rest standpoint," Fisher says. "There will be some sessions where we get back to some basic things. But I also have to keep in mind the health of this football team."

There are always surprises in an NFL season. Teams rise up and teams slip down. No one expected the Rams or Bucs to contend for anything. The Titans, however, rightfully expected more and don't have much time in the tough AFC South to reverse course.

NEW PACKERS GREAT: Donald Driver's family endured one hardship after another when he was a child in Houston. At one point, they lived in a panel truck, so desperate were they for sustenance. Driver persevered after the Green Bay Packers chose him in the seventh round of the 1999 draft and now he is that storied franchise's all-time leading receiver. His seven catches against the Detroit Lions give him 602, putting him ahead of Sterling Sharpe (595). The Packers quickly whipped up a new exhibit for their Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field that features Driver's game jersey, pants, socks, gloves, wrist tape, ankle tape and sleeveless performance jersey on display (and the only thing missing is the shoes and Driver himself). The two footballs used to tie and break Sharpe's record are also exhibited.

QUOTABLE: "You don't want to miss a game. The games are the only fun times we have. Nobody likes to practice, nobody likes to go through the hard work in the weight room. Nobody likes to go to do all that stuff, but on a Sunday when you get to go out there and play and show everybody what you've got and play with your friends and your teammates and play for your coaches and fans, that's what you want to do. You don't want to sit on the sideline watching." – New York Giants G Rich Seubert. The Giants offensive linemen have started 38 consecutive games as a group, the NFL's longest streak. ... "Whatever decision Bill makes, I respect that. Whether I agree with it is something totally different." – New England Patriots LB Adalius Thomas, benched last week, on coach Bill Belichick. ... "Now we are a target. We're not under the radar." – Denver Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil on his team's surprising 6-0 start. He leads the NFL with 10 sacks. ... "They got what they deserved." – Oakland Raiders DE Richard Seymour on the New York Giants' 48-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints. A week earlier, the Giants beat the Raiders 44-7 and MLB Antonio Pierce likened the game to "a controlled scrimmage." ... "Under no circumstance would I make a change. We've got a chance to get a lot of things done and we've got a lot of football left to play and we've got some good people that not only can play it but coach it." – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, reacting to speculation about coach Wade Phillips' job security. ... "He has become one of the best quarterbacks and one of the best pressure quarterbacks in the league. I just enjoy watching him and knowing him." – Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner on the Giants' Eli Manning, his former teammate. The teams meet Sunday at Giants Stadium.

EXTRA POINTS: The Philadelphia Eagles' saga at MLB continues. They expect to start Will Witherspoon, acquired this week from the Rams, against the Redskins Monday night. They lost Omar Gaither (foot surgery) for the season after seeing Stewart Bradley (knee) go down early in training camp. They had plugged in old warhorse Jeremiah Trotter and he started last Sunday against the Raiders. ... The Cardinals still can't run the ball. They average 2.8 yards a carry. "I don't think we can ignore the fact that we have some pretty good receivers and a quarterback that does a good job of getting them the ball," coach Ken Whisenhunt says. ... Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 25 times in five games. ... The Rams don't have a rushing touchdown. ... Denver Broncos QB Kyle Orton has thrown only one INT and good ball security (four turnovers) has been a key to an unexpected 6-0 start. ... The Titans have been outscored 138-53 in the first half, helping explain their winless record. ... Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says Rashard Mendenhall has replaced Willie Parker as his starting RB. … Roscoe Parrish has been a top punt returner for Buffalo but the Bills have taken that job away from him. He's averaging only 6.1 yards per return. ... Losing DE Antwan Odom (Achilles tendon) is a blow for the resurgent Cincinnati Bengals. Odom had half of Cincy's 16 sacks.


Larry Weisman covered professional football for USA TODAY for 25 years and now joins the Redskins Broadcast Network and Redskins.com to bring his unique viewpoint and experience to Redskins fans. Go to Redskins.com for the Redskins Blitz column and NFL Blitz on Friday. Larry also appears on The Jim Zorn Show on WRC-TV on Saturday night, on Redskins Nation, airing twice nightly on Comcast SportsNet, and on ESPN 980 AM radio, all in the Washington, D.C. area. Read his blog at redskinsrule.com and follow him on Twitter.com/LarryWeisman.

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