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Rams on short rest, Chiefs minus Green for Governor's Cup
By R.B. FALLSTROM
Updated: 5:46 p.m. ET Sept. 1, 2005
ST. LOUIS - The Governor's Cup series between the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs is never much more than an average preseason game.
This year it may be even more of a yawner given that the Chiefs will be without Trent Green, who's been experiencing numbness in his lower left leg and foot, and that the Rams will be playing their second game in five days. Coach Mike Martz noted it could be worse, given that the NFL had originally wanted this game to be held on Thursday, precious little time in either case coming off a 37-13 victory at Detroit on Monday night.
"You don't want it to be that way," defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson said. "That's not how you would draw it up. I've never played a game this quickly, so this is something new for me."
Like most final exhibition games, it's primarily a test for players trying to make the 53-man roster.
"This is a great opportunity for some of these guys to make this team, and some that may not, to expose themselves to the whole NFL," Martz said. "It's very important for these guys, that's really what we're kind of banking on."
With only two days of practice to prepare for the game, the Rams will be going with a skeletal game plan.
"We did nothing for Kansas City, nothing," Martz said. "So whatever happens, happens out there."
The frontliners won't play much, either.
"We're going to protect our starters in this last game," Martz said. "You have to. Only a fool wouldn't do it."
Jonathan Quinn will start at quarterback for the Chiefs in place of Green, recovering surgery on his lower left leg. He remains on track to start in the opener Sept. 11 at home against the Jets.
Quinn, who was with the Bears last year but was unemployed before the Chiefs signed him two weeks ago, likely will play the first half. The regular backup, Todd Collins, is out with a hand injury.
One of the more intriguing story lines for the Chiefs could be the debut of former Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who has one game to audition for a job. The Chiefs picked him up at the start of training camp but he's been sidelined by a knee injury and for a time considered arthroscopic surgery.
"I've got four years of game tape," Mitchell said. "Hey, I was breast-fed on big games. I'm ready to go out there."
Cornerback Eric Warfield also figures to get his only extensive action in the preseason. He's suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
This will be the third trip back to St. Louis for Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, who coached the 1999 Rams to their only Super Bowl championship. The Rams have 12 players that played for him, including four-fifths of the offensive line plus wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.
"I didn't bring Isaac there, but the rest of them I brought there," Vermeil said. "I look forward to seeing them, watching them play, hoping they stay healthy."
Vermeil has seen the first half of each of the Rams' first three preseason games, and he's been impressed.
"I think it's the best team Mike's had since his Super Bowl team (in 2001)," Vermeil said. "Just watching them play against Detroit, they can't play much better or much harder."
The Chiefs, who have held the Governor's Cup the last three seasons, are 0-3 in the preseason and are trying to avoid their first winless preseason since 2000. But Vermeil, who's in the final year of a three-year deal, said he's having fun.
"I enjoy it, I enjoy the challenge," Vermeil said. "I'd like to have fewer challenges. But it's a good group. We have great expectations so far, but I don't think our performance has reflected our expectations."
-09-01-2005 #2DJRamFan Guest
Re: Rams on short rest, Chiefs minus Green for Governor's Cup
This game is stupid. Guys that won't even make the team will be deciding this ever important Cup. please. Put it in the beginning or middle of the preseason if they want it.