ATLANTA -- There are two players for the Los Angeles Rams who have in the past been significant contributors for the Patriots - Brandin Cooks and Aqib Talib. Both have played significant roles on the Rams this season. Cooks has helped expand the passing game and since he returned Aqib Talib has stopped the Rams from giving up too many big plays. Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher said Talib and Cooks will have a better understanding of what they see on film because of their experience in New England.
"Don't underestimate what you see on film. They know how Bill (Belichick) works. If you have a tendency - Bill has seen it too. Bill, though, will break his tendencies - so just make sure you stay within what you are doing and don't overanalyze," Cowher said.
Belichick will surely surprise the Rams on Sunday.
"There are going to be some basic core elements that they do on both sides of the ball, but there will be wrinkles in the game plan. The Rams must be able to adjust and ready to adjust. They have to be willing to be open minded about adjustments. The Rams must use the first quarter to make adjustments," Cowher said.
Cooks said that he feels blessed to be in Los Angeles after spending a year in New England. He thought there was a chance that he could spend his career in New England. Cooks, however, was not too surprised when the Pats traded him to the Rams for a first round pick this past offseason.
"It is one of those things they (the Patriots) operate in a situation unique to most other teams. You think you can be somewhere for a while, but at the end of the day you don't have to hold onto that. It is unfortunate. I feel blessed to be sent somewhere that is so special," Cooks said.
Cooks said he became a smarter football player in New England because of Belichick and Josh McDaniels. Cooks said he learned to be attentive to the little details and has improved this year. He tried to turn some of his weaknesses, like his ability to fight for the ball, into a strength this season. Cooks was abrupt with the media Monday night.
"I couldn't tell you," said Cooks when asked about the differences between the Rams and the Pats offense.
Rams coach Sean McVay told Pats Maven that he thought the Rams have used Cooks in a similar fashion as the Pats did. McVay said he watched tape on how the Pats used Cooks and incorporated those concepts into the Rams offense.
When the Pats acquired Talib in 2012, they desperately needed a No. 1 corner. They found one in Talib and might have made another Super Bowl if Talib didn't get hurt in the 2012 AFC Championship Game. Talib laughed when asked if he could cover Julian Edelman one-on-one and simply turned to the next question. Talib noted that Edelman is one of the best receivers in the NFL - even though he is often left out of the conversation for top receivers.
"Coming from Tampa to New England - I really like the winning that was going on over there," Talib said. "We was winning so that was good."
Talib didn't contemplate whether he would spend his entire career in New England. The Pats chose not to resign Talib in the 2014 offseason and signed Darrelle Revis instead.
"I don't think about stuff like that. You can be with a team one day and gone tomorrow," Talib said.
Talib always looks forward, which is a strong quality for a cornerback with pass interference rules that make it tougher to play the position. When asked about the blatant non-pass interference call at the end of the NFC Championship Game, Talib responded:
"My mother always said God told her don't put a question mark where there is meant to be a period."
Talib rarely criticizes his teammates and didn't do so Monday when asked about the struggles of fellow corner Marcus Peters against the deep ball.
"We watch film together. I notice things that he doesn't notice and he sees things that I don't notice," Talib said.
Talib said the Rams defense has improved against the deep ball because of the little things. Talib wouldn't give away the Rams game plan, but knows they have to physical. Talib pointed at Pats Maven.
"Even if you play you would know you have to be physical," Talib said.
Whoever Talib covers on Sunday will be sore afterwards.