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Cason steps up in the nick of time
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Monday, Sep. 05 2005
One last chance. That's what running back Aveion Cason figured he had before
the Rams' final preseason game Friday against Kansas City.
A good performance might save him from the final round of cuts. But a poor
showing almost surely would deprive him of a spot on the 53-man roster. Cason
acknowledged that the butterflies in his belly were flapping furiously before
kickoff at the Edward Jones Dome.
"I had a lot of anxiety," said Cason, a 5-foot-10, 204-pound, fifth-year pro
out of Illinois State. "Coach (Mike) Martz came to me and asked me if I was
ready to go. I kind of figured I was going to be in there for a while. I
thought, 'It's time to go.' ... I felt like I had to go in there and make some
Cason's assessment of his situation was on the mark. Asked Monday whether Cason
needed a strong outing against the Chiefs to make the team, Martz didn't
hesitate. "Yes, he did," he said. "And I thought he had an excellent game."
Cason, 26, carried 20 times for 67 yards and a 1-yard touchdown in the Rams'
27-23 victory. He also averaged 23.0 yards on six kickoff returns. "His returns
helped him immensely," Martz said.
The cuts were made Saturday, a day earlier than the league deadline. "It kind
of caught me off-guard," Cason said. "I was getting calls: 'This guy left, this
How did he know he'd made the squad? "I didn't receive a call," he said,
smiling. "That's how I looked at it."
The Rams signed Cason as a free agent last Dec. 7 - a couple of months after
Dallas released him - because Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson were nursing
bruised knees. Cason didn't get any carries, but he averaged 22.1 yards on 14
kickoff returns in three games.
Some speculated that he would have to beat out Arlen Harris for a roster spot
this year, but Martz kept four running backs. Cason again should see most of
his action on special teams.
"Ready to go"
With the preseason schedule complete, the roster final and the season opener
just six days off, a different atmosphere enveloped Rams Park on Monday.
"It's very, very intense," Martz said. "The focus is incredible and the
attention to detail. You start getting yourself ready, and you start thinking
about the game. There are butterflies. It's that time of the year. Ready to
With the rival ***** providing the opposition Sunday, the anticipation is amped
up even more. "San Francisco's always special," Martz said. "Our young players
will learn that as they go. But the older players understand that completely."
Last season, the Rams beat the ***** 24-14 in San Francisco and 16-6 at the
Rookie tight end Jerome Collins was released Monday to make room for veteran
Jeff Robinson. Collins, a fifth-round draft pick from Notre Dame, could fill
the eighth and final spot on the practice squad. ... Terry Fair reported that
his neck, injured when he tried to tackle Detroit back Kevin Jones on Aug. 29,
is "still pretty painful." Because the doctors want all the soreness gone
before he returns to action, Fair's availability for Sunday's game appears
Re: Cason steps up in the nick of time
I was glad to see Cason step it up myself. I think it is a good idea to have some depth at RB in case S Jackson gets injured. I think they are going to keep Faulk in the game more as a deadly receiver that can get plenty of yards after the catch. I don't really see Faulk as a regular RB anymore, so it is good to have Harris and Cason there as backups.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]