By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Thursday, Sep. 23 2004

Former teammates on
opposing missions now

If Rich Coady and Ernie Conwell have a reunion Sunday, it won't exactly be a
tea-and-cookies affair.

With Aeneas Williams moving to cornerback, Coady is expected to start at free
safety for the Rams against New Orleans. Conwell, who played in St. Louis from
1996 through 2002 and had a locker near Coady's, is the Saints' starting tight
end.

So Coady and Conwell could meet again, this time on the Edward Jones Dome turf.
"Playing against (Conwell) every day in practice for three or four years, it'd
be nice to go live against him," Coady said.

Conwell represents only a small part of Coady's concerns, though. The Saints'
top running back, Deuce McAllister, is sidelined with a high-ankle sprain,
meaning that coach Jim Haslett will have to rely on journeymen Aaron Stecker
and Ki-Jana Carter for any semblance of a ground game.

So logic indicates that New Orleans quarterback Aaron Brooks will have the ball
in the air much of the afternoon. "We expect to have a busy day," Coady said.
"You like that, though, when the action's around you and when you're around the
ball. It'll be fun for us to go out there and do the best we can and try to
shut that down."

The Saints (1-1) hardly have been on offensive juggernaut: They're averaging
291.5 yards (22nd in the 32-team NFL) and 18.5 points (17th) per game. Yet
Brooks' 502 passing yards are exceeded by only eight quarterbacks.

Wide receivers Joe Horn (14 catches, 204 yards) and Donte' Stallworth (12, 149)
are his favorite targets. Conwell has three catches for 32 yards.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Coady said Brooks is especially effective when he
throws "over the middle and deep outside. He's got a real live arm, quick
release, throws the ball well. And he's got two great receivers to throw to, so
that makes it easy."

Coady, 28, was the Rams' third-round pick (No. 68 overall) in the 1999 draft
out of Texas A&M. He has started 11 games in six seasons, but most of his work
this year has been as an extra back in passing situations.

"Instead of playing 30 plays, I'll play 60. So it won't be that big of a
difference for me," Coady said. "You prepare to start every week, and I've been
here long enough that I'll know what I'm doing every play. It's not one of
those things where I've got to go in there and learn a bunch of new
terminology. It should be pretty simple and pretty basic."

Chillar rests foot

First-team linebacker Brandon Chillar sat out team drills Thursday, a day after
a teammate stepped on his foot at practice. X-rays showed no broken bones, and
the injury was diagnosed as a bruise. Chillar, a rookie from UCLA, was listed
on Thursday's injury report as "probable" for Sunday's game.He has recorded a
total of 11 tackles in two regular-season games.

Back to pads

The Rams practiced in shells last week, a move that coach Mike Martz
acknowledged "hurt" the team in Sunday's 34-17 loss at the Georgia Dome.
"That's a coaching error on my part," said Martz, who had his team back in full
pads Wednesday.

Martz said he decided to take it easy last week because "we were a little
banged up. We were down to just a few linebackers, and we just couldn't afford
to lose one in those drills. That was the whole rationale behind it."