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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is online now Superbowl MVP
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    St. Louis Rams Face Arizona Cardinals' Triple Threat

    St. Louis Rams face Arizona Cardinals' triple threat

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/19/2009

    For the St. Louis pass defense, every week brings its own set of challenges. Perhaps none bigger than the three-headed monster coming to town this week otherwise known as the Arizona wide receiver corps.

    Last season, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston became only the fifth trio in NFL history with 1,000 yards receiving apiece. They also became just the fifth trio in league history with 75 catches each. Despite some injury problems for Boldin and Breaston, they're not far off that pace this season.

    "They're definitely a special group," safety Oshiomogho Atogwe said. "They're almost playing on a different level. It's almost like they're not running an offense off a (play) card. They're just kind of running an offense that they all know intrinsically. They're always on the same page ... and they just kind of play off of one another."

    And just in time for Sunday's game against the Rams, they're as healthy as they've been all season. The ultra-competitive Boldin missed the Chicago game two weeks ago with an ankle injury. (And let everyone know how unhappy he was to be a pregame inactive.)

    He returned to form last week against Seattle with eight catches for 105 yards, including a 37-yard catch in the fourth quarter that set up the game-winning touchdown. In the process, Boldin tied former Ram Isaac Bruce as the fifth-fastest player in NFL history to reach 7,000 receiving yards doing so in his 88th career game.

    "He's like a running back playing wide receiver," cornerback Ron Bartell said. "He has a real physical mindset. He welcomes contact, which most wide receivers shy away from."

    There isn't a wideout in the league tougher to bring down in the open field. Boldin hasn't broken as many tackles as usual, probably a result of the ankle injury, but that doesn't mean it won't happen Sunday.

    Injuries have cost Boldin eight games over the previous two seasons, which in part explains why Fitzgerald has moved ahead of him as the Cardinals' No. 1 option. Nobody in the NFL has as many catches or yards as Fitzgerald since the start of the 2005 season, and he's trying to lead the NFC in catches and yards for the third consecutive season.

    "He has great body control," Bartell said. "Of course, he's big and physical and everything. But his body control is out of this world. He's able to make catches in every area. So where you can throw the ball for him, you can't throw it ... for any other receiver. He's able to go get it all over the field."

    Fitzgerald isn't making as many big plays down the field so far this season, because opposing teams have been playing a lot of Cover 2, a defensive scheme designed to keep the play in front of you.

    Fitzgerald and Boldin are in their sixth season together, making Breaston the relative newcomer. A fifth-round pick out of Michigan in 2007, Breaston (6-0, 189) may have the best deep speed of the trio. As is the case with Boldin, he also seems to be healthier, having played through a bruised knee that has bugged him for much of the season.

    The size of Boldin (6-1, 217) and Fitzgerald (6-3, 217) complicates pass defense and makes positioning all the more important.

    "They go up and get the football," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "It'd be one thing if they were just big, but they're more than that. They can run. They know how to go get the football."

    Even with the recent improvement in Arizona's running game, the best chance for the Rams to spring an upset Sunday is to keep Fitzgerald, Boldin and Breaston from going wild in the Edward Jones Dome.

    "They're great. What more can you say about 'em," Bartell said. "And Kurt (Warner) just makes 'em even more tougher. So it's a challenge. But I think we're starting to come together as a secondary. We've got a little bit of stability. Guys are back healthy."

    Count Bartell among the latter. A nagging thigh injury that robbed him of his closing speed is almost behind him.

    "I feel so much better the past couple of weeks than I did," Bartell said. "That week off (for the bye) really helped. It's the best I felt since like Week 2."

    At the other corner, Quincy Butler hasn't been a liability in two starts since Bradley Fletcher's season-ending knee injury.

    At safety, James Butler is re-establishing his chemistry with Atogwe after missing three games with a knee injury.

    "Me and James are really starting to flow right now," Atogwe said. "Those weeks he was down, slowed us down, but we're back right where we were coming out of training camp. Our communication's at an all-time high, and I think that's what's allowing us to play well."

    And with an interception and a forced fumble that prevented a touchdown against New Orleans, Atogwe is back as the Rams' Mr. Takeaway.

    "I mean, he never left," Atogwe said, grinning. "It's a blessing to be able to create turnovers. We're going to continue to look for 'em. We won't press for 'em, but we'll definitely take advantage when the opportunity presents itself."


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams Face Arizona Cardinals' Triple Threat

    We are going to need some turnovers by the Cardinals offense to win this game. Hopefully Captain Kurt will help us out.

    GO RAMS!

  3. #3
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    Re: St. Louis Rams Face Arizona Cardinals' Triple Threat

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    We are going to need some turnovers by the Cardinals offense to win this game. Hopefully Captain Kurt will help us out.

    GO RAMS!
    I agree 100% there, this game is tougher than the Saints in my opinion.
    The Saints are not playing as well right now, Arizona, as of now are right up their with the Colts. Just an opinion.
    Prediction-Cardinals 34-10. The Cardinal D seems to always play its best football agianst the Rams.

  4. #4
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    Re: St. Louis Rams Face Arizona Cardinals' Triple Threat

    The Cards are a very good team and are likely better than the Saints. But, I also think that the Rams are showing us that they are a capable of playing at a much higher level than earlier in the season. Assuming that Warner, Hightower, Fitz & Boldin have thier usual games, it will be difficult to keep them out of the endzone. Tough, tough test for our Defense today.

    I have confidence in our team to find a way to win tough !! Home field, much more in-synch Offensive Line, and Steven is running like a truck !!

    RAMS in a 4th Quarter STUUUN-NUH 45-38 !!! Ya heard it hear.

    PS On the NFL Network, Marshall Faulk picked the Cards...C'mon Marshall !

    Best to all

  5. #5
    Warner4prez's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams Face Arizona Cardinals' Triple Threat

    Warner's my boy, but this is one week where I wouldn't mind seeing him throw up 5 more picks. We definately gotta come up with a big game here.

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