By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
10/01/2004


A conspicuous name was added Friday to the Rams' injury report, that of running back Marshall Faulk. He had limited work this week at practice and is listed as "probable" because of tightness in his lower back.

So, could rookie Steven Jackson, the team's first-round draft choice in April, be primed for a coming-out party Sunday night in San Francisco? Jackson doubts whether that will be the case, for two reasons:

He expects Faulk to be ready to go against the *****, a fierce NFC West rival.

With coach Mike Martz vowing this week to keep his attack "fast and furious," Jackson figures the Rams will continue to rely on quarterback Marc Bulger's arm. "Mike Martz has been famous for having the 'Greatest Show on Turf,'" Jackson said. "And that hasn't been running the ball, it's been passing."

Martz has called 184 plays this season - 124 passes and 60 runs. Faulk has carried 46 times for 192 yards; Jackson had had only 12 tries, for 75 yards. The Rams' rushing average of 94.7 yards a game ranks 25th in the NFL, but their passing yield of 282.3 yards is topped by only four teams.

Jackson said he's not surprised - and not disappointed - that he hasn't had more work. "I'm comfortable right now where I am," he said. "Coming into this season, I knew the situation I was going to be put in: to be the backup guy and not to be the focal point of the offense ... not quite yet."

Also listed as probable are strong safety Adam Archuleta (back and hamstring) and linebacker Robert Thomas (ankle). Both vowed to be in the lineup Sunday, though.

"Absolutely," Archuleta said. "This is what we do for a living. You see your teammates out there battling, and everybody's working hard to try to get this thing right. No way does watching them enter your mind."

Thomas said his ankle, which he sprained last week against New Orleans, "gradually got better as the week went on. ... We've got a good team here, and we've got to get things back on the road. I need to be out there."

Tercero, Garrett could start Sunday

Guard Chris Dishman, who suffered a hyperextended knee vs. the Saints, and cornerback Travis Fisher (broken arm) probably will be the only Rams regulars on the sideline at Monster Park. Scott Tercero is expected to slide into Dishman's spot, and it appears as if Kevin Garrett will team with Jerametrius Butler at cornerback. It would be the first NFL start for second-year pros Tercero and Garrett.

Garrett didn't play a down on defense last Sunday, but he spent much of the week in practice with the first unit. "Well, that's how it goes," he said. "Whenever your number is called, you've just got to be ready to go. I'm ready."

Aeneas Williams, who filled in at cornerback against the Saints, has returned to free safety, and DeJuan Groce, who started the first two games but suffered a sprained knee Sept. 19 in Atlanta, still is a bit gimpy.