Rams back to work rested and healthy

Wednesday, October 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Bad news for the rest of the NFL: a bye week got the unbeaten St. Louis Rams back to almost full strength.

The time off was especially beneficial to the 30th-ranked defense, a stepchild thus far to the NFL's most prolific offense. Strong safety Devin Bush returns on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons after missing two weeks with a pulled hamstring and turf toe, and tackle D'Marco Farr is ready to make his first start since injuring a knee in the opener.

Farr, who underwent arthroscopic surgery, is expected to improve the performance of the front four with his quickness. He joked that he gave the knee a final test running after his young son during the bye.

``I can chase down a 2-year-old,'' Farr said Wednesday. ``He's small, he's quick, he's fighting. I can get him now. If I can catch Grant, I can catch anybody.''

Farr isn't totally healthy, but figures that's normal.

``I haven't been 100 percent since I was a rookie,'' he said. ``This is as close as I'm going to get. I can run, I can cut, I can do all the things I need to do, and we'll get to that quarterback.''

Bush spent all but one day of the Rams' nine-day break rehabbing in St. Louis.

``The bye was right on time for me,'' Bush said. ``I was banged up on the left side and I was frustrated, missing games and having to watch. It gave me a chance to rest, heal up and not sit on the sideline with a T-shirt on.''

Bush was still listed as probable, but scoffed at that.

``That's just a word to me,'' he said. ``Probable is out the window.''

Linebackers Todd Collins and London Fletcher also are probable coming off ankle woes. So is guard Adam Timmerman, who injured his knee in the Rams' 57-31 rout of the Chargers.

Coach Mike Martz made good on his promise to give the team a full week off if they beat the Chargers Oct. 1, allowing them to recuperate mentally as well as physically. Now he'll live with a bit of rust, preferring to gear up for the last 11 games and the postseason.

Players weren't anticipating any problems getting rolling again. Linebacker Mike Jones noted that counting training camp, the Rams had been together for 11 weeks before getting their breather.

``You've already set a standard,'' Jones said. ``If you can't come back from that, just having a week off after playing 11 weeks, you're in trouble.''

Quarterback Kurt Warner, who set an NFL record passing for 1,947 yards the first five games, took his kids to New York City for a day during the break. He wasn't worried about rust.

``Hopefully it won't take long at all,'' Warner said. ``The biggest thing is just to get back in mentally and pick up where we left off mentally, and then the physical stuff just comes.''

The Rams can afford an offensive dropoff, considering they're averaging 506 yards and 43.4 points _ a record pace. But they want more.

``We never let anybody define our reality or how high we can go,'' tight end Roland Williams said. ``Right now we have a goal of perfection. We want to score every time we get the ball.''