Bernie Bytes: Rams and running backs ..
BERNIE MIKLASZ | Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 9:30 am | No Comments Posted
Good morning ...
READING TIME 5 MINUTES:
* The Rams are bringing in RB Chauncey Washington off the NY Jets' practice squad. That's a good move. Washington was a good runner at USC, and he has some speed. He's also stout and could help on special teams.
* But based on head coach Steve Spagnulo's positive review of Kenneth Darby and Keith Toston, you wonder if the Rams are serious about giving an outside RB much of a role, other than to be there to reinforce the depth. If Steven Jackson isn't going to be sidelined for long, I can see the Rams sticking with Darby and Toston for most of the action, even with Toston having a sore shoulder. The Rams haven't been aggressive in securing a higher-caliber No. 2 for Jackson, and I don't know if Washington will change the mix.
* On his Twitter account, former Rams personnel VP Tony Softli presented a list of younger backs worth pursuing. He mentioned Washington and previously cited these practice-squad RBs: Lonyae Miller (Dallas), DeShawn Wynn (New Orleans), Chris Henry (Seattle.) Miller is intriguing, because he has outstanding speed. He was a starter at Fresno State before losing the No. 1 job to Ryan Mathews; no disgrace in that. Wynn was good enough to make the Super Bowl champs' 53-man roster, but the Saints moved him to the practice squad when they re-signed Ladell Betts. The talented Henry, a No. 2 draft pick of Tennessee in 2007, was suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league drug policy and has been trying to rebuild his career.
* Softli also provided the names of backs on 53-man rosters that possibly could be had for a draft choice: Lex Hillard (Miami), Joique Bell (Philadelphia), Jonathan Dwyer (Pittsburgh), Tyrell Sutton (Carolina), LaGarrette Blount (Tampa Bay). At least two of these guys, Bell and Blount, were available before being signed by their current teams. The Rams passed on the chance to add one to their 53-man roster. The Rams also passed on signing former NY Giants RB Derrick Ward, who was scooped up by the Houston Texans, even though Houston already had Arian Foster and Steve Slaton.
* The Seattle Seahawks, who will be at The Edward Jones on Sunday, have aggressively retooled the roster under first-year head coach Pete Carroll, who has considerable authority on personnel matters. The Seahawks' 53-man roster has 26 players who weren't on the team last season. One is former Jets RB Leon Washington, signed as a free agent. Seattle took a minor risk because Washington was coming back from a broken leg. But the risk already has paid off in a big way; Washington, as fast as ever, returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in Sunday's win over San Diego.
* Another free-agent RB. Thomas Jones, has helped the Kansas City Chiefs get off to a 3-0 start. Jones has teamed with Jamaal Charles to give the Chiefs the league's No. 1-ranked rushing attack through the first three games. Jones is averaging 72 yards rushing per game; Charles averages 79 yards per game. The Chiefs' average of 160.7 yards rushing per game is tops in the NFL. The durable Jones has 6,595 yards rushing since the start of the 2005 season; that ranks to LaDainian Tomlinson.
* Just to clarify what's being said and reported about Steven Jackson's injury: He has a strained groin muscle. But a strain is, in fact, a tear. So it's incorrect to state that his injury is a strain, but not a tear. It's just a matter of severity. As sports-injury expert Will Carroll has explained, a Grade 1 tear is not serious. But anything above that could keep Jackson sidelined for a while. Carroll also explains that the pain level isn't a determining factor in the severity of the injury. Hopefully Jackson has a Grade 1 tear.
* Peeking ahead to Sunday's game, the factors indicate a potentially busy day for Rams QB Sam Bradford and his receivers. The Rams may have to beat Seattle by throwing the ball. The Seahawks have been very tough to run against so far. They're allowing only 2.6 yards per carry, which ranks 3rd in the NFL. Opponents are averaging 67.7 yards rushing against the Seattle defense. That puts Seattle 5th in the NFL in rushing defense. But with the ball in the air, it's a different story. Seattle has allowed a completion rate of 60 percent. The Seahawks are 23rd in most yards per attempt allowed, 7.42. They're 30th among 32 defenses in allowing net passing yards (316) and gross passing yards (329) per game. And they have already given up eight completions of 25+ yards, which is one of the highest figures in the league.
* The Rams and KC Chiefs each won on Sunday, and that hasn't happened for a long while. The last time the two Missouri-based NFL teams won on the same day was Dec. 31, 2006, in the final regular-season game of the '06 season.
* Sunday's victory over Washington was the Rams' first September win since Sept. 24, 2006 at Arizona. The Rams had lost 13 consecutive September games until taking down the Redskins with a strong second half. That note courtesy of Nick Gass.