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John Madden analysis

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2000

I was in St. Louis last week, and I haven't seen such an offensive explosion since the 49ers when Joe Montana was throwing it with John Taylor on one side and Jerry Rice on the other side and Roger Craig in the backfield.

The Rams are built to play on that carpet and in that dome. I know that Tampa Bay's defense is quick and all those things, but if you're there watching the Rams, they look like buckshot shot out of a gun when that ball is snapped.

If the Bucs want to play that deep coverage, what we call Cover 2, the Rams don't have to go deep all the time. If you play deep and you give them a pass rush, they have three things that they do: They draw to Marshall Faulk, they screen to Faulk or they throw a shuttle pass either to Faulk or Az-Zahir Hakim.

The glue that holds this whole thing together is Faulk. I know Hardy Nickerson and Derrick Brooks will be a part of taking him away, but I think John Lynch has to be a big part of that.

I think Tampa Bay has to define what playing well on defense is and playing well on special teams. I don't think it can put all the scoring on just the offense. If it's just the offense, it can't score enough points to win.

Shaun King is an amazing guy when you talk to him and meet him. Last week, earlier in the game, he ran a play and kind of scrambled and he didn't know exactly what to do, so he just plowed in headfirst and he kind of just got up looking out of his ear hole. But he was just laughing. That's a true test of calmness when you can have five guys rap you in the head and you get up laughing.

I don't think they can put it on King's shoulders. I think King just has to be one of the guys. I think it has to be Warrick Dunn, it has to be Mike Alstott, and some of their receivers have to make a play.

After the game, there's going to be one guy going in each locker room, and one is going to talk to you about making arrangements for the Super Bowl and the other is going to talk to you about making arrangements to go to the Pro Bowl.

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