Rams vs. Redskins

<B>Offensive player to watch:</B><BR> Quarteback Danny Wuerffel. You think Kurt Warner will be rusty? How about a guy who played only four quarters all season, then coming in after nearly two months off? And we're not talking about a former MVP like Warner. If Wuerffel throws more than 20-25 times, the Redskins are doomed.

And keep an eye on: Left guard Alex Sulfsted. He'll be matched against pass-rushing tackle Dameone Lewis and can't afford any messups, otherwise David Loverne will re-enter. This is a curious move considering Sulfsted had not worked at guard since the summer.

Defensive player to watch: Corner Champ Bailey. He followed Amani Toomer for most of the game last week, shutting him down whenever matched against him. Will he shadow Isaac Bruce or Torry Holt? Bailey said he'd probably stay on one side, as usual, but others have said differently. Marvin Lewis said no comment. Stay tuned.

And keep an eye on: Corner Darrell Green. His play has slipped dramatically the past few weeks. Teams have thrown at him almost immediately upon his entering the game. Can he summon up some of that magic for this game? He'll have to.

Telling stats: St. Louis is tied for second in the NFL having allowed only nine touchdown passes. They're also second in third-down conversions, giving up first downs only 30 percent of the time. But the Rams' run defense, which ranks ninth, surrenders 4.1 yards per carry. Wonder if the Ball coach knows that?. . . In his last five outings, including two preseason games, Wuerffel has led one scoring drive, a field goal against the Titans.

How the Redskins can win: Stay patient with the running game, pressure Kurt Warner and mix up coverages often, making him take longer to feel comfortable. If the Redskins can limit the Rams' offense early, they have a shot to stay in this game for the entire 60 minutes. But if Washington can't do that, then the Rams jump to a quick lead, watch out. Steve Spurrier will abandon the running game, having Wuerffel throw way too much and it could get ugly. The offense should spread the field, getting St. Louis into its 4-1-6 set, then run the ball. They must control the clock and get an early lead, giving everyone confidence. If they can do that, the Redskins have a shot. And don't forget, this league is full of games where a heavy home underdog springs an upset. As they say, that's why you play the game.

Signs of trouble: Wuerffel drops back to pass early and often. . . .The Rams pressure Wuerffel, known for taking sacks and throwing interceptions. . . The Redskins' defense allows more than 20 points. . . Kurt Warner is hot early.


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