EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In less than a year, Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has gone from scapegoat to sparkplug.
Schottenheimer spent six seasons overseeing the Jets' offense, two of which ended with a trip to the AFC Championship Game. But when offensive struggles helped keep the Jets out of the playoffs last season, he became a target for frustrated fans.
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That's something he sees as part of the job.
"When you're a coordinator in this league -- offense, defense, head coach, whatever -- you're gonna take bullets," Schottenheimer said Thursday. "It comes with the territory."
As Schottenheimer prepares his new team to face his old one Sunday in St. Louis, it would seem as if he is in a position to have the last laugh.
Under new coordinator Tony Sparano, the Jets' offense is considerably worse than last season in virtually every statistical category. Mark Sanchez's quarterback rating is worse than all but four NFL starters. In Sunday's stinker in Seattle, the Jets' only touchdown was scored by the defense.
In contrast, the Rams hung 24 points on the league's stingiest defense in a tie with San Francisco and have improved significantly on offense.
But Schottenheimer wouldn't take any shots at his exes.
"You've gotta move on," he said. "You have so many relationships back there. I'm just looking forward to seeing those guys and competing against those guys."
Offensive lineman Robert Turner, another Jet-turned- Ram, praised his coordinator's consistency in preparation and game-planning this season.
When asked about Jets fans' attitude toward Schottenheimer last season, Turner attributed the anger to the organization's 43-year championship drought, though Turner couldn't put his finger on the exact year the Jets last won a Super Bowl.
He then drew a comparison.
"They're hungry for one," Turner said. "It's the Chicago Cubs of football."