Scout's take: Jam Rams

By KEN SUGIURA
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/14/05 St. Louis Maybe no one is as familiar with the Falcons and St. Louis Rams right now as Will Lewis.

As pro personnel director for the Seattle Seahawks, Lewis scouted the Falcons before they played the Seahawks in the final game of the regular season and also the Rams before their NFC wild card matchup last Saturday.

Lewis declined to predict a winner in Saturday's divisional playoff game between the Falcons and Rams, but did provide insights into Saturday's divisional playoff.

Starting with the Rams offense vs. the Falcons defense, Lewis noted that St. Louis performed inconsistently over the course of the season, but was playing with better timing in recent weeks, in large part because of the return of quarterback Marc Bulger from a deeply bruised throwing shoulder.

"The Rams are kind of on the down side to some degree, but they've got enough veteran players who, as long as the focus is there, can get the job done," Lewis said.

One strategy teams employ to disrupt the timing of Rams receivers such as Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce is jamming them at the line and re-routing their pass patterns. In their regular-season meeting Sept. 19, won 34-17 by the Falcons, Holt and Bruce both went over 100 receiving yards.

"If you've got speed guys that can go one-on-one (with the receivers), you're presenting a challenge to St. Louis," said Seattle Seahawks defesnive tackle Rashad Moore. "If you have to sit back in zone, it's going to be a long day."

The Falcons cornerbacks have generally played off the line of scrimmage to limit the risk of getting beaten deep.

"I think [the Falcons] have both the scheme and the athletes to handle that," Lewis said. "It's a combination of knowing when to jam, re-route and be physical with them, and also knowing when to pressure the quarterback. I think with (defensive coordinator Ed) Donatell and (coach Jim) Mora, their mindset and approach to defense and with the guys they have, they should defense them well."