Every Friday morning, St. Louis offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower gives his troops a quiz. "It covers the whole game plan in capsule form," Dowhower says. It also covers 10 pages of legal-size paper. "I must admit the first time I pulled it, the receivers looked at me as if I was nuts," Dowhower says. But his students concede that the quizzes are a big reason why quarterback Neil Lomax has connected so well this season with receivers Roy Green (81 in the above diagram) and Pat Tilley (83) on plays like this one, called Split Right 428.
Through eight games, Lomax has completed 160 of 264 attempts for 2,368 yards and 15 touchdowns, with only five interceptions. Green has caught 40 passes for 892 yards (a 22.3-yard avg.) and eight TDs, including two in the Cards' upset of Washington last Sunday. Tilley has caught 30 passes for 488 yards (16.3 avg.) and three TDs.
There are other reasons for the Cards' aerial success:
? Lomax is more at ease without veteran Jim Hart, now a Redskin, around. Hart, 40, wasn't about to shorten his own career by taking Lomax, 25, under his wing.
?Green is taking a cue from the workhorse Tilley and spending time after practices running routes.
? Lomax and his receivers are finally synchronized in their thinking. Lomax, who had been a run-and-shoot quarterback at Portland State, could read defensive schemes faster than his receivers and at times would cut his pass drop short and throw. What made that style tough on Green was that he is a former defensive back who had a tendency to make his adjustments off the defense's initial movement. So, while Lomax was throwing. Green was reacting, and the two weren't meshing well. Lomax now holds his fire until he gets a Green light.