By PAUL SCHWARTZ
September 5, 2003 -- Jeremy Shockey isn't saying much these days, but one of the Rams' heavy hitters is saying plenty about Jeremy Shockey.
Adam Archuleta, the hard-tackling strong safety who patrols the St. Louis secondary, has turned the impending confrontation with the Giants into a personal battle with Shockey, who will play wearing a flak jacket to protect a cracked rib.
"I'm sitting here over the summer getting ready for the season, I watch SportsCenter and I see Jeremy Shockey running over these DBs who are 40 pounds lighter than him, so I'm not too impressed with the tackling styles of these DBs," Archuleta said this week in an interview on WFAN. "Being the voice of all DBs across the NFL I'm going to have to bring a little something else to the table this game."
One of the fears held by the Giants is that Shockey's outspoken ways and outrageous comments would make him a target, and that is exactly what he'll be in Sunday's season opener.
"I think when you talk and you make your voice heard in the national media and in the papers and on ESPN I think you have a bit of a target on your chest," Archuleta continued. "Guys kind of take that as a personal challenge, you're going to be the guy to shut him up, you're going to be the guy to show him how to play in this league."
Baiting Shockey has rarely worked out well for a defender. Colts defensive back David Gibson tried it last season and Shockey went out of his way to flatten Gibson after a catch. Julian Peterson talked tough leading up to the playoff game against the 49ers and Shockey tried to inflict pain on Peterson in that game.
"I expect nothing less from Jeremy Shockey," an unafraid Archuleta said. "If he doesn't go out on the field on Sunday and look up No. 31 and try to run him over I'd be very disappointed in him. I'm going to look for him to look me up and he can look for me to look him up."
Asked who is the better tight end, Shockey or the Ravens' Todd Heap, Archuleta at first said he'd reserve judgment, then chose Heap, his former Arizona State teammate. "I got to roll with my guy Todd, that's my boy," Archuleta said.
The Giants know all about Archuleta. As a rookie two years ago, he made a game-saving hit on Joe Jurevicius, causing a fumble to derail a potential winning rally. Now he's set his sights on Shockey.