A heaping helping of Thursday Whispers.

Can Dan Dierdorf be objective?<p>

Dierdorf, who is doing the Jets-St. Louis game this week with Dick Enberg for CBS, is on the Rams honorary advisory board . . .

Jets coach Herman Edwards has provided his defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson with great insight into how to stop the Rams offense. Remember Edwards was the secondary coach on the Tampa Bay team that held the Rams to 11 points in the NFC Championship game in 2000. That was one of the best defensive game plans against the Rams since Mike Martz took over their offense. The Rams still have the same offensive system as in that game . . .

Henderson is playing hurt this week. He has a bad case of the flu. It's a tough week for him to be ill, facing a Rams offense that is still a nightmare to deal with. On top dealing with the malady, Henderson is feeling the pressure of coming off calling a bad game against New England.

"That might have been my worst game as a defensive coordinator," said Henderson. "I put [the players] in some bad situations. I put them in some situations that was uncomfortable for them."

The Rams four and five wide receiver sets could cause a big problem for a Jets secondary lacking speed and players adept at man-to-man coverage.

"The built there team around the turf, and like to throw the ball 15-20 yards down field," said Henderson.

One thing the Jets defensive backs need to do is effectively jam the Rams wideouts on the line, to give the pass rush an extra second to get to quarterback Mark Bulger.

"If we don't [jam the receivers], it will be a long day," said Henderson . . .

Rams General Manager Charley Armey is the brother of former Texas Senator Dick Armey . . .

The Rams know they are going to have some problems protecting Bulger with their patchwork offensive line against the Jets talented front four.

"We are struggling injury-wise and we have some young guys in there learning how to play," said Martz.

Their right tackle Blaine Saipaia could be in for a long day against Shaun Ellis. Saipaia, who has spent the last four seasons on a variety of practice squads, wasn't even with the Rams in training camp. He was signed in September. He's the Rams third right tackle this year. They are on their fourth left guard – Tom Nutten, and their right guard, Adam Timmerman, is playing with two bad shoulders and a banged-up knee . . .

Jason Ferguson will be facing Nutten quite a bit in this game, and wouldn't mind paying him back for quitting on the Jets in the summer of 2003. Remember Nutten was signed in the spring of that year to replace Randy Thomas, but he retired in the middle of training camp, leaving the Jets with a hole on the offensive line.

"He quit on our butts," said Ferguson. "I guess he got tired of the green and white. I will let him know how I feel now. We know him so it will be interesting to see how we handle him in certain situations." . . .

A huge matchup in this game is the Rams star defensive end Leonard Little against Jets left tackle Jason Fabini. Fabini is coming off one of his worst games of the year, yielding two sacks and committing two penalties against the Patriots. Little is one of the best speed rushers in the game, and playing in the loud Edward Jones Dome on a fast track makes him even tougher . . .

If the Jets offense wants to catch the Rams by surprise in this game, they might consider throwing to their tight ends. According to one Jets player, opposing defenses have basically ignored the team's tight ends because they have been such a non-factor the last six weeks . . .

Quincy Carter was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday with the flu, so there is a good chance Brooks Bollinger will be the Jets primary backup quarterback in St. Louis . . .

This would be a good week for the Jets offense to have a number of long, sustained drives to keep the Rams high-powered offense off the field.

"That would be nice," said Henderson . . .

Jets backup fullback B.J. Askew was not at the beginning of practice on Thursday. No explanation has been given for his absence . . .

Guard Pete Kendall inferred after the Jets loss to New England that the team should have run the ball more because the Patriots only played seven men in the box. However, Patriots safety Rodney Harrison has a different perspective on this. He feels the Patriots only played seven in the box because that is all they needed to stop the run. This allowed the Patriots to leave their two safeties back to help the young cornerbacks they were forced to play in this game.

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