Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seven Things to Watch for Sunday; Rams at Falcons Noon Sunday Ktvi (Ch. 2)

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seven Things to Watch for Sunday; Rams at Falcons Noon Sunday Ktvi (Ch. 2)

Article excerpt


The Falcons have been largely a pass-first team during their current wave of success. But with their offensive line experiencing pass-blocking problems, and marquee WRs Roddy White (ankle) and Julio Jones (knee) listed as questionable, maybe this is a game in which Atlanta gives its new running back one Steven Jackson a heavier workload. He had only 11 carries last week. "He's still rumbling and snorting, and throwing the dreads around," former Rams teammate James Laurinaitis said. "He's still got it."


White has the dreaded high ankle sprain, which he suffered a month ago during an exhibition game. Those injuries can linger and White still isn't right. The four-time Pro Bowler, who has enjoyed six consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, was basically a decoy in the season-opening loss to New Orleans, getting targeted only twice and catching both passes for 19 yards. After missing almost all of the practice week, the nine-year pro is not expected to be much healthier against the Rams.


One of the best moves the Falcons made in the offseason was persuading Tony Gonzalez to postpone his retirement for another year. As one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, he will provide a huge challenge for Rams linebackers and their young safeties. "Tony knows how to position his body to really get open," Laurinaitis said. "He'll nudge you (to get position). He and (quarterback) Matt Ryan are on the same page it seems like all the time." Last week against the Saints, Gonzalez caught his 104th career TD pass.


Averaging 2.8 yards per carry on the ground, as was the case for the Rams last week against Arizona, won't get you very far over the long haul. Compounding matters is the fact that stating RB Daryl Richardson came out of that contest with a foot injury, resulting in a limited workload during the practice week. …

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