By Jim Thomas
Sunday, Dec. 03 2006

Football coaches always tell backup players that it's a long season, be
patient, and be ready to go at a moment's notice.

No one knows this better than defensive end Brandon Green. He found himself on
the Rams' pregame inactive list in three of the season's first five contests.

"You just stay in your (play)books and work hard," Green said. "When you get a
chance, hopefully you perform well enough to where they feel confident in
putting you out there."

In mid October, Anthony Hargrove was traded to Buffalo. Last week against San
Francisco, Victor Adeyanju suffered a fractured forearm that could sideline him
for the rest of the season. That puts Green, a four-year veteran from Rice,
into the starting lineup Sunday against Arizona. As was the case against the
*****, rookie Claude Wroten normally a tackle is expected to spell Green at

"It's exciting for me," Green said. "I hate to see a buddy and a teammate go
down. But it's a chance for me to step up and make some good plays to help us
win this game."

Green literally faces his biggest challenge of the season in Arizona offensive
tackle Leonard Davis. Aptly nicknamed "Big," Davis stands 6-feet-6 and weighs
365 pounds. That means Green, 6-3, 264, will be giving up a full 100 pounds.

"He's a big dude," Green said. "It's always a challenge, that's for sure. I
played against him my freshman year in college, so we've seen each other quite
a few times out there."

In fact, Green had extensive playing time against Davis when the Rams and
Cardinals met in September. Hargrove was suspended that game after being AWOL
for two practices during the week. Green unofficially was in for 32 plays,
matching his season high, and registered season highs for tackles (five) and
quarterback pressures (two). Green chafes a bit at being labeled "undersized,"
but realizes taking on Davis straight up isn't the way to go.

"There's no defensive end in the league that's as big as he is," Green said.
"So everybody pretty much has the same obstacles as far as trying to get around
him. You've got to work your techniques, and when you're in the defense, you
have to play it fast. If you sit around and wait on him, he'll just punch you
to death. Literally and figuratively."

Davis is known for his powerful hand punch as a blocker.

"He probably has the strongest punch I've ever gone against in the league,"
Green said.

A nose for the game

Contrary to postgame reports, left tackle Todd Steussie did not miss any plays
last week against San Francisco after suffering a cut to his nose.

Team medical officials were able to stop the bleeding during a timeout, while a
play was being challenged via the instant replay system. Steussie, who later
needed about a half-dozen stitches to close the wound, was back in the huddle
before the next play.

Steussie said the injury occurred, "when my helmet slid down and cracked me in
the nose. Usual thing. I've done that almost every year since my senior year in
high school."

Why does it keep happening?

"I think I've got a weird-shaped head," he said. "My wife has gotten used to
it, and so have I."

Closing in on 1,000

Steven Jackson needs 68 rushing yards Sunday to reach 1,000 for the second year
in a row. With 115 yards, he will top his career high of 1,046 set last season.

"Definitely, 1,000 yards is something I'm thinking about," Jackson said. "But
more importantly, I've got to get this win to start a winning streak."


Isaac Bruce needs one reception to pass Jimmy Smith for seventh place on the
NFL career list. Bruce and the now-retired Smith both have 862 catches.