NFL

DE Robert Quinn off to a roaring start for Rams

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ST. LOUIS (AP)

(Eds: With AP Photos.)By WARREN MAYESAssociated Press

Rams defensive end Robert Quinn was ''born to pass rush,'' according to teammate Chris Long.

Long, who totaled 24 1/2 sacks the last two seasons, offered that assessment after watching Quinn harass Carson Palmer for three sacks, two forced fumbles and a tackle for a loss in the season-opening win against Arizona.

Quinn's three-sack day matched a career-high he set last season against the Cardinals. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder made life miserable for Arizona tackle Levi Brown in the Rams' 27-24 victory Sunday. In three career games against Brown, the first-round pick out of North Carolina has recorded five quarterback sacks and four quarterback hits.

Long had a good game Sunday, too, with three hurries of the quarterback along with recovering a fumble forced by Quinn in the fourth quarter - a play that was a game-changer. It put the Rams' offense at the Cardinals 22-yard line and led to the game-winning field goal.

''It's a great honor to be the player of the week but you can't get those things without your teammates,'' Quinn said Thursday. ''I give a lot of credit to them. I move on past it to the next weekend and see what I can do.''

Coach Jeff Fisher would like to see more of the same Sunday against Atlanta and quarterback Matt Ryan.

''He was very productive. It was an exceptional job,'' Fisher said. ''He played hard and I hope he can keep it up.''

Quinn, who had 10 1/2 sacks last season, poses plenty of problems for an offense after developing moves to go with his speed.

''He's playing the run with a great deal of strength right now and then he's hard to block 1-on-1 out there,'' Fisher said. ''He's very good with his hands. He was changing his moves up.''

Defensive coordinator Tim Walton agreed.

''He had an outstanding game. He flew around,'' Walton said. ''He had sacks, quarterback pressures, quarterback hits. He affected it really good.''

Quinn still has a big upside to his game, said Long, who was limited in practice Thursday with a sore hip.

''Every week we won't be breaking the banks sacks-wise, but one big reason we're going to continue to ascend is that guy over there,'' Long said motioning to Quinn. ''I've been saying for a while that he's special and he's just going to keep getting better and I think that's scary for opposing offenses.

''I've been saying he's a top give, eventually a top three pass rusher. He's as dangerous as anybody in the league. He's just going to continue to show it, and it's scary how good he can be.''

In the season opener at New Orleans, Ryan was sacked three times, hit four times and hurried 18 times. Veteran left tackle Sam Baker allowed a sack, two hits and three hurries.

However, Quinn is expecting the Falcons to tighten things up this week.

''I'm sure they are shocked and upset about last week,'' Quinn said. ''We've got a fight on our hands. They have a lot of talented players.''

For his part, St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford said he is glad he doesn't worry about facing Quinn.

''Oh man, (I'm) extremely happy that him (Quinn) and Chris aren't lining up opposite of me,'' he said. ''We had to face them every day in training camp; those two guys are as good a tandem as there is.''

Getting better is important to Quinn.

''I'm just diversifying to be a better pass rusher,'' Quinn said. ''We work on our craft and if you play the game long enough, you should come closer each day to perfecting it.''

Tagged: Falcons, Rams, Cardinals, Sam Baker, Chris Long, Sam Bradford, Robert Quinn

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