Posted on Sat, Dec. 27, 2008
Jackson hopes Rams will add a fullback
BY STEVE KORTE
A true fullback tops running back Steven Jackson's wish list for next season.
Asked what the St. Louis Rams need to get their fortunes turned around, Jackson pointed to an improved offensive line and a fullback.
"We need Richie Incognito plus three," Jackson said of the offensive line. "We need those big-time guys who are going to plow some things open, and we need a fullback with attitude. And, that's what I need."
The Rams have no true fullback on their roster. They cut fullback Dan Kreider, who had been ineffective, on Nov. 26.
The Rams use a tight end -- either Anthony Becht, Joe Klopfenstein or Daniel Fells -- whenever they have a formation that requires a fullback.
"I would love a fullback in the offense, a full-time fullback," Jackson said.
The Rams' last punishing lead blocker was Madison Hedgecock, who was cut by former coach Scott Linehan to make room on the roster for tight end/H-back Richard Owens early in the 2007 season. Owens was cut before the 2008 season, while Hedgecock has excelled as the lead blocker for the New York Giants.
"It would be nice to have a fullback," Rams coach Jim Haslett said. "I think Steven would love to have a full-time fullback, and I'd like to get him one. I think he needs one.
"I think if you have a running back like Steven with his stature and speed, and you're going to pay him that type of money, that's the guy you have to build your offense around. You have to match him up front with offensive linemen and you have to have receivers who are going to block and tight ends who are going to block, because that's the guy who you are going to hang your hat on."
Rookie could get his first NFL start
Rookie John Greco likely will be making his first NFL start this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons since left guard Jacob Bell was unable to practice all week because of a hamstring injury.
Greco, a third-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, had some rough moments in the fourth quarter of the Rams' 17-16 loss to the San Francisco *****. He gave up a sack and then failed to block a blitzer who stopped Jackson for a 3-yard loss on a key draw play on the Rams' final offensive drive.
"I talked to him and he will be fine," Haslett said of the 6-foot-5, 325-pound Greco. "He is a young kid and he has a ways to go. He is going to be a good player. With his mass and size and athleticism, once he understands what you want out of him in the game, I think he will be a pretty good player."
Greco said he might have lost focus a little in the late going against the *****.
"The end of the game there at crunch time maybe I lost some focus and just got beat," Greco said. "I'm disappointed in a couple of plays at the end of the game, but you're going to have mistakes. I just have to try to get better."
Greco said his rookie season has been as challenging as he thought it would be.
"Everything I expected -- faster, quicker, more mental," Greco said. "I'm just glad to have a season under my belt. Now I know what to expect and I'll carry it over to the offseason and work."
Cornerback Fakhir Brown has been listed as questionable against the Falcons because of a sprained ankle.
If Brown can't play, second-year cornerback Jonathan Wade will start in his place.
Wade said he is ready if called upon.
"People go down in the NFL all time," Wade said. "That's what happens. It's a man's game, it's a rough game, and people will get injured. You have to stay focused so when you get a chance in practice, you have to be patient, and when you get to step into a game, (you) play at your best."
• Right guard Richie Incognito didn't practice Friday. He was sent home with the stomach flu.
Haslett said Incognito was expected to be available against the Falcons, though he was listed as questionable on the Rams' injury report.
• Haslett met with the nine members of the Rams' practice squad after practice.
"We're taking the practice squad guys on the Atlanta trip because they deserve to be on a trip," Haslett said. "We haven't taken them all year, and I was just trying to tell them to act like professionals, dress like professionals."
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