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Rams' Schottenheimer to face former team

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Brian Schottenheimer is trying to treat the St. Louis Rams' game against his former team, the New York Jets, this weekend as just another game.

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``I want to win because it's the next game and we need to get to four wins,'' the Rams' offensive coordinator said. ``It's fun to compete against your friends, but (the games) are all the same.''

It's hard to imagine, however, that Schottenheimer - in the first season of a second stint with St. Louis (3-5-1) - wouldn't take extra pleasure in watching his offense have a big day against New York, where he spent the previous six seasons.

The 39-year old Schottenheimer and the Jets had a mutual parting of the ways after last season. Schottenheimer was severely criticized in 2011 for inconsistencies in the offense and the lack of progress by quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets finished the season 8-8 and were 25th overall in total offense.

Schottenheimer, the son of former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer, quickly landed in St. Louis on the staff of new Rams coach Jeff Fisher.

Despite the struggles last season in New York and the intense media backlash, Schottenheimer has fond memories of his tenure with the Jets.

``I enjoyed my time in New York,'' he said. ``I had great experiences, won a lot of football games. I'm looking forward to seeing those guys.''

Fisher knows that Schottenheimer is not going to make revenge an issue this week.

``He's been around long enough to know that you can't get caught up in the personal things,'' Fisher said. ``He wants to win just like everybody else wants to win.''

St. Louis is ranked 26th offensively heading into Sunday's game. The Jets, under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, are 30th.

Schottenheimer was well-liked by most of the players in New York and maintains a healthy relationship with Sanchez.

``We still talk now and then,'' Sanchez said. ``He's always been great with me, so I've got nothing but respect for the guy.''

The Jets led the league in rushing in 2009. They reached the AFC championship game in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

For those reasons, along with many others, New York coach Rex Ryan still holds Schottenheimer in high regard. He is anxious to butt heads with his former assistant.

``It's going to be fun because we've picked each other's brains so much that it's like, `Oh man, I shouldn't have told him this or I shouldn't have told him that,''' Ryan said. ``But clearly, Brian is outstanding. We accomplished a lot.''

Schottenheimer is also looking forward to matching wits with Ryan.

``He's a fun guy to play cat-and-mouse with,'' Schottenheimer said. ``He's a dangerous guy to play cat-and-mouse with. It'll be fun on Sunday.''

Schottenheimer has come full circle. He made his NFL coaching debut for the Rams under head coach Dick Vermeil in 1997.

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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