PRO FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : RAMS : Miller Braces for Cardinal Onslaught

Quarterback Chris Miller will start only his 11th regular-season game in three years Sunday against an Arizona defense designed specifically to neutralize him.

Coach Buddy Ryan has brought with him the “46 defense,” complete with free-agent imports Clyde Simmons and Seth Joyner from Philadelphia.

So how concerned is Miller, who is coming off two knee operations, about the Cardinals’ heavy pass rush?

“You’re going to get hit more than normal against this defense,” he said. “You have to take those hits because you’re going to have an opportunity to make some big plays.”


Offenses have struggled for years against the “46 defense,” named after the jersey number of Doug Plank, who played for Ryan in Chicago.

It’s designed to put heavy pressure on the quarterback without sacrificing run defense by placing as many as eight defenders within five yards of the line of scrimmage. There’s one flaw: It’s sometimes vulnerable to deep passing plays.

“Sometimes this defense makes you look real bad, but sometimes you’ll go three downs and out, three downs and out and then throw a 78-yard touchdown pass,” Miller said. “You have to be patient against it.

“We had success against it in Atlanta. With our four wideouts, it was hard for them to bring that type of pressure and heat all the time.”



Wide receiver Patrick Rowe, formerly with the Cleveland Browns, will undergo a physical exam by team doctors today. Rowe, 6-feet-1 and 195 pounds, is a third-year player out of San Diego State who spent 1992 on injured reserve and caught only three passes for 37 yards in five games last season. . . . Safety Cliff Hicks, cut by the Rams, was picked up by the New York Jets, his former team. The Jets plan to use him as a punt returner.