BY JIM THOMAS
Friday, August 19, 2011 12:00 pm


Marshall Faulk looked at the St. Louis roster, like he always does, and found some pleasant surprises.

"I'm like, man, (guard) Harvey Dahl -- that was a great pickup," Faulk said. "You look at the offensive line, and you look at the depth that this team has, and it starts to impress you. What Billy (Devaney) and them have been able to do in collecting talent and raising that talent level up to where you start to expect a team to get into the playoffs, and make a run, and do some things."

Faulk wasn't ready to compare this offseason -- and this team -- to what happened in 1999, when the Rams traded for Faulk, signed quarterback Trent Green and offensive guard Adam Timmerman in free agency, and drafted wide receiver Torry Holt. And then went on to win the Super Bowl.

"I want to give these guys a chance to get out there and play before we start to compare them to an accomplished (team)," Faulk said. "We understand what we did that year. That wouldn't be fair to do that."

Faulk took particular notice in the signing of two free agents to back up Pro Bowler Steven Jackson in the backfield.

"Because we all know, we sit up there (in the press box) and we watch Steven play, and it's like, ‘Man, the guy needs somebody to play behind him,' " Faulk said. "And now, you not only have one guy, but you have two guys.

"Cadillac (Williams), he can move the chains, and then Jerious Norwood, he's a home-run hitter. I watched him play when he was in Atlanta and I felt like that guy had the ability to change -- he could change the field position for you in a hurry. So it's good to see that."

As a former running back, and a Hall of Fame one at that, what does Faulk look for in a backup?

"You want a guy to be just good enough that you keep your job," Faulk joked. "He doesn't hurt the team, but you want to keep your job....When I was here, I think I had two No. 1s and a No. 2 drafted behind me. Those things are motivating."

The first-round picks were Trung Canidate in 2000 and Jackson in 2004. The other back Faulk was referring to, Lamar Gordon, actually was a third-round pick in 2002.

"I hope that Steven can look at those guys and take that as motivation like, ‘I need to improve my game in all the little things that I work on,' " Faulk said. "And take things from them that he sees them do at practice, or on tape, or when they played elsewhere."

Faulk will serve as color analyst for telecasts of the Rams' three remaining preseason games. He couldn't work last week's preseason opener against Indianapolis because of a prior commitment. Two weeks removed from the whirlwind of his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Faulk said normalcy has returned to his life.

"I'm back to talking about football, being around football. I'm glad that we have football, I should say," said Faulk, an analyst for the NFL Network.