Little-Warner friendship on hold Sunday -

Little-Warner friendship on hold Sunday

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Friendship goes out the window Sunday when the St. Louis Rams' Leonard Little tries to sack his friend, Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner.

"Hopefully, we can bring him down a couple of times and slow him down," said Little, who was Warner's teammate during his run with the Rams. "I got a whole lot of respect for him. He led us to two Super Bowls and we won one of them. So, I got the utmost respect for him. He's a good friend of mine."

Friendship, however, stops when the Rams (1-8) host Arizona (6-3) in a NFC West game. St. Louis, 6-35 over the last three seasons, has lost its last nine home games while the Cardinals are undefeated in four road games this season.

Making life tough for Warner is a must, Little said.

"My job is to rush the passer and he knows it's my job," Little said. "I don't try to hurt anybody but it's my job to try and tackle the quarterback so I try and do that as much as possible."

The Rams' defensive front is hampered with ailments. Little has been bothered by a sore knee. James Hall is nursing a sore back while Chris Long (knee) and Clifton Ryan (toe) also are not at full strength.

"We're ready to go," Little said. "We all got nicks and bruises but it's that time of the season."

The Rams lost C.J. Ah You for the season this week to a knee injury sustained during practice Wednesday. Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said Little, who turned 35 earlier this month, will see more playing time as a result.

"He gets an extra cookie in his lunch pail," Flajole said.

Victor Adeyanju will step into Ah You's role as a pass rusher in some situations.

The Rams are coming off a 28-23 loss to the undefeated New Orleans Saints. The players are using that game as a stepping stone to nailing down an elusive home win.

A key to that will be putting pressure on Warner. In his last two games, Warner has thrown for 601 yards and seven touchdowns. He had no interceptions in either win over Chicago and Seattle. Warner has 18 touchdown passes to rank fourth in the league this year.

"He's playing very well, has a great supporting cast around, he's one of the most accurate quarterbacks I think in the National Football League," Flajole said. "He always puts the ball, even under duress, where the receiver has an opportunity to get the football."

The Cardinals have been running the football better recently. Rookie Beanie Wells rushed for 75 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns in the second half last week against Seattle. Wells has averaged 67.8 yards in his last four games.

"They have some good backs with (Tim) Hightower and this Beanie Wells kid," Long said. "If we can't slow that running game down, we can't even worry about getting to pressure Kurt."

Stopping the run first will be the order of the day, Flajole said. By stopping the run, the Cardinals will be more one-dimensional.

However, Flajole acknowledged that may not be enough to stop Warner.

"They say some quarterbacks have that sixth sense about when to get rid of the ball, whether they see the blitz or sense the blitz, I think he has that," Flajole said. "I think he knows where the hot receiver is and I think as soon as he senses pressure, he knows exactly where he wants to go with the football and he is doing it with good people."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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