Injured Leonard feels ready to return
By Kathleen Nelson
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
More than a month after injuring his shoulder, running back Brian Leonard is waiting for a chance to return to the field.
“It’s feeling a lot better,” Leonard said as he removed a shoulder brace after practice Friday. “I feel like I’m ready to get out there and play a little bit. I’m not sure if I’m active or inactive” for Sunday’s game in Seattle.
Leonard suffered the injury against San Diego on Aug. 16, when he shared duty with Antonio Pittman and rushed for 38 yards on eight carries. He missed the last two preseason games because of the injury and was inactive for the first two-regular season games.
The contrast is striking to last year, when Leonard was a second-round pick out of Rutgers and used his versatility to make an impact at halfback, fullback and on special teams. He started seven of 16 games, rushed for 303 yards and caught 30 passes for 183 yards.
This season, Pittman has taken over as the No. 2 halfback behind Steven Jackson, Dan Kreider is the starting fullback, and Travis Minor is entrenched on special teams.
Coach Scott Linehan noted that Leonard will have to fight to regain his former roles, but added that he had his best of week of practice since the start of the season.
“I’ve told him it has no bearing on his performance at practice. He wasn’t the healthiest, and we’ve got to play guys based on special teams decisions,” Linehan said, adding of Leonard’s three roles last year, “It’s just that right now it’s the feeling that those other guys are fitting those roles better.”
Leonard spent time Thursday and Friday working with the starters as well as the scout team, so his status could remain in doubt until game time.
“To work my way back in the offense, I have to get on special teams first,” Leonard said. “I’m just hoping to get back out there and help this team win games. I know I can do that.”
Shopping for a victory
The Rams departed from their road game routine by leaving for Seattle on Friday, rather than Saturday.
“A lot of times going that way screws us up,” Linehan said of West Coast trips. “It seems like we’re always really dead when we get there on Saturdays. Even though you gain time. you’re still on the Central time zone, so it gives us a little more time to acclimate and get that flight out of you.”
Torry Holt seemed more concerned with where the Rams play than when they arrived.
“Qwest Field is unbelievable, their fan base is incredible,” he said. “Seattle in particular is very good at home. They do a good job of defending their turf.”
Upon further reflection, though, Holt said a victory, no matter the venue, was most important.
“If we won at Frontenac Mall, it would be good.,” Holt said. “We just need a win, whether it’s on the road or at Frontenac Mall or here at Edward Jones or here at Rams Park.”
Asked about the playing surface at Plaza Frontenac, Holt quipped, “They have that ice turf, that money turf. You can find some good shoes over there. I know that.”
Ram-blings: Defensive end Leonard Little and guard Jacob Bell, both with hamstring injuries, were listed as questionable, meaning each has a 50-50 chance of playing Sunday. One big difference: Little was limited in practice Friday, while Bell wasn’t. ... Cornerback Ron Bartell participated in practice Friday after sitting out Thursday because of an injury just below the rib cage. Bartell collided with safety O.J. Atogwe on the final play of practice Wednesday and was listed as probable for Sunday.
Re: Injured Leonard feels ready to return
You know, regardless of what position or role (however small) we need all hands on deck!
It's time to turn this thing around.