Reeves looking for No. 200 Monday night

Updated: October 12, 2003, 3:55 PM ET

ST. LOUIS -- Not long ago, career victory No. 200 might have seemed like a big deal to Dan Reeves.

Now he's more concerned with win No. 2 -- this season.

The real milestone feels overdue to the beleaguered coach of the Atlanta Falcons (1-4), a playoff team last season but struggling these days without Michael Vick.

The Falcons have lost four straight games entering Monday night's test against the St. Louis Rams (2-2).

"We're just trying to get to 2-4. Mainly, that's what we're looking at," Reeves said. "I'd just like to get that second win and get our team back on track."

Reeves is 199-168-2 over 23 seasons, seventh in NFL history for coaching victories. Only Don Shula, George Halas, Tom Landry, Curly Lambeau and Chuck Noll are ahead of him.

Reeves, 59, is quick to note that his .542 winning percentage is the worst among that group. He also notes he landed on his feet after being let go by the Denver Broncos and New York Giants.

"It's a lot of losses," he said. "I've been very fortunate that when I did get fired I was able to go somewhere else. It just means you've been around for a while."

Along the way, Reeves has borrowed liberally from his contemporaries. All the coaches ahead of him on the victory list were an inspiration.

"I'm a great believer in copying successful people," Reeves said. "I'm probably one of the great all-time copiers as far as plays are concerned."

Reeves isn't afraid to admit he's stolen a page or two from the playbook of Mike Martz, his counterpart Monday.

"Oh, definitely," Reeves said. "I think everybody has been influenced by things that Mike does as far as the movement and shifts and even the plays he runs. You bet."

That's flattering to Martz, who's in his fourth season as a head coach. Martz borrows from Reeves, too.

"He's always really sound," Martz said. "I always watch what they do."

Reeves is sitting on a second milestone, sharing the franchise victory record of 47 with Leeman Bennett. Atlanta's players say he's been upbeat while waiting for Vick to return after breaking his leg in the preseason.

"He's been very good, very positive," quarterback Doug Johnson said. "Last year we were 1-3 and were able to bounce back, and hopefully, we get it turned around this week."

Atlanta is a big underdog Monday, even though the Rams are missing some key players on offense.

Marc Bulger is in his third week as the starting quarterback, with two-time league MVP Kurt Warner benched because of poor play. Lamar Gordon is the stand-in for Marshall Faulk, who'll be out at least three more weeks with a broken left hand and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

The Rams also will have to contend with a 3-4 defense for the first time in three seasons, which could stress a rebuilt offensive line.

"It changes some roles for protection," Martz said. "You've just got to make sure everybody is on the same page."

The Rams became the first team in NFL history to score 500 points three straight seasons from 1999-01, but now Martz is learning to live with less.

St. Louis is doing fine with Bulger, who's 8-2 as the starter, and Gordon, who had career bests in yards (81) and carries (22) in three quarters two weeks ago against the Cardinals.

Reeves said the Rams are similar to the team Atlanta faced twice a year before moving out of the NFC West. He's also wary of the Rams' dominance in the Edward Jones Dome, where they've won eight games in a row.

"The crowd is so much involved, and they're a good team," Reeves said. "They're a young team in transition, but they still have the mark of his offense."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index