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Caution keeps Jackson on bench most of game
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Aug. 20 2007
Those arriving even a tad late to the Edward Jones Dome on Saturday missed
seeing running back Steven Jackson on the field. That's because his night was
finished after the first play — a 3-yard pass from Marc Bulger to Torry Holt —
of the Rams' 30-13 loss to San Diego.
That bit part followed Jackson's five-play "workout" at Minnesota. Halfway
through the preseason schedule, Jackson has caught two passes for 20 yards and
has yet to carry the ball.
No, Jackson isn't hurt. And no, he isn't in danger of losing his job, certainly
not after leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage last year and making the Pro
The idea is to have Jackson fully primed for the regular-season opener Sept. 9
vs. Carolina. To that end, the coaches are trying to balance keeping him fresh
with getting him the proper amount of work.
As offensive coordinator Greg Olson explained, they'd prefer that most of that
work be done on the practice field.
"We run a pretty physical camp, so it's not as if Steven hasn't had a chance to
take some hits," Olson said. "You've got to make sure that a guy like Steven,
who is a game-changer, is healthy for the regular season and healthy for the
playoffs. It's all based upon that."
Coach Scott Linehan said Sunday that Jackson should see some action Friday at
Oakland. Then he might head back to the sideline for the preseason finale Aug.
30 vs. Kansas City.
"During the regular season, running backs get hit a lot more than any other
position on our football team," Linehan said. "You try to be really smart about
that in the preseason."
LEONARD IS BUSY
With Jackson being protected, rookie Brian Leonard is working overtime. The
second-round draft pick had nine carries and five receptions vs. the Vikings,
followed by a 17-carry, two-catch outing vs. the Chargers.
"I wish we had a cold tub here (at the Dome); I'd jump right in," he said
Saturday. "I'm a little more tired. I'll sleep better this week than last week."
Because Leonard has progressed rapidly at tailback, the plan now is to bring
him up to speed at fullback. He played both positions at Rutgers.
"He's going to have to take a big step in the next couple of weeks and learn
the fullback position as well," Olson said. "From what we've seen so far,
there's no reason for us to believe he won't be able to do that."
Guard Richie Incognito's ankle sprain was the only injury suffered by the Rams.
Wide receiver Drew Bennett was reported to have bruised ribs, but Linehan said
Bennett simply had the wind knocked out of him.
Vikings linebacker Heath Farwell was fined $7,500 by the league for his
roughing-the-passer penalty on Rams quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who suffered
a cracked rib. ... Camp officially ended Sunday. Starting today, the team will
practice on a regular-season schedule.
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