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Donnie Avery in for a big day against Cowboys?

Assume for a moment the Rams offensive line plays air tight pass defense, four out of five stars at a minimum. It's a tall order with LT Orlando Pace "50-50 at best" for this week's game. 

Now, the Rams are going to pass on the Cowboys anyway, but with good pass protection Bulger ought to be able to recapture some of the magic, getting passes behind the defense, like the days of yore. More important than nostalgia though, is exploiting the Cowboys considerable weakness at cornerback. This is a must for the Rams in order to get Steven Jackson some breathing room on the rush, and keep the defense from having to do all the heavy lifting.

If they can overcome, or at least work around and withstand, the Cowboys pass rush, the Rams receivers could be in for a good day. Take a look at the Cowboys' defense DVOA against particular receivers:

WR #1 WR #2 Other WR TE RB
13.1% (22) 33.7% (23) -0.8% (17) 1.0% (15) -4.1% (14)

Last week, the Arizona Cardinals had magical receiving numbers against the Cowboys, who still had Pacman in the lineup. With Larry Fitzgerald working in double coverage most of the day, Arizona's #2 WR, Steve Breaston had 8 catches for 128 yards and one TD. Fitzgerald had 5 catches for 79 yards and a TD, even catching a 50+ yarder.

In fact, in their 6 games this season, the Cowboys have allowed passes of 50 yards or more in four of them.

Al Saunders' offense didn't do much to give the Rams an edge in last week's win against the Redskins, until the impressive, final scoring drive that was salvaged by Donnie Avery's highlight reel catch and Josh Brown's leg. They have to elevate their play this week, using that final scoring drive against Washington as their benchmark and their inspriation.

Watch Donnie Avery this week. The Cowboys will be forced to keep Torry Holt in tight coverage, where he'll probably still catch some passes in front of defenders. Avery's speed should give their fill-in cornerbacks problems and allow the Rams to get behind the defense. Get Keenan Burton in on plays formerly reserved for Randy McMichael.  I'd like to see plenty of three and even four receiver sets this week. Picking away at the Cowboys big defensive imbalance could also help free Steven Jackson as defenders move out of the box to work agaist the pass.

Making it work rests largely with the offensive line. If they can't keep Bulger off his back and open some running lanes, it really won't matter who's at corner for Dallas.


Some good news and some news about the o-line. G Jacob Bell went through a full practice. Orlando Pace suited up, but his participation was limited to a few individual drills.