Rams back says he could have done better
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - You'd think St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson would be pleased about rushing for 121 yards against a defense that was one of the toughest against the run last season.
"Actually, I'm not," Jackson said. "I kind of feel like I left some yardage out there. There are some things that we are still trying to get together and tweak as an offense. Great performance, but I think in a way, it could have been even better."
Jackson carried the ball 22 times and averaged 5.5 yards per carry against the Broncos, who ranked No. 2 among the NFL's 32 teams in run defense last season.
"He's a big, physical guy who has a rare combination of power and speed," Rams coach Scott Linehan said of Jackson. "To be complete, in my opinion, he needs to use both. He really showed me something in the fourth quarter, that he's a willing inside runner. He got up in there in that first run in the four-minute drill, and basically willed himself to about a 12-yard gain. Not many guys can do that."
Jackson ran 68 yards in the final 12 minutes of the game as the Rams iced the win.
"I make it a big emphasis to take over a ballgame, especially when we have a lead and we're in what we call our four-minute offense," Jackson said. "You're going to run the ball, and the defense knows you're going to run the ball. I take pride in knowing that me and the offensive line are moving the chains and keeping the clocking running."
Jackson and the rest of the Rams' offense have yet to get into the end zone. They had five trips inside the red zone against the Broncos, and they came away without a touchdown each time.
Jackson said he wasn't going to complain about not getting limited carries in the red zone.
"I'm not going to get too greedy," Jackson said. "I'm getting my carries right now. When my number is called in the red zone, I'm going to try to take advantage of it and make the most of it, but I have faith in this coaching staff that they are going to get their marquee players the ball."
Who will be center stage?
Linehan said no decision has been reached on whether Larry Turner or Richie Incognito will be starting at center against the *****.
"We're still trying to evaluate what is the best thing to do this week," Linehan said. "It makes sense for Richie to move in there now because we've worked it. It was part of our plan in the offseason. We haven't made a decision as far as this game."
Incognito worked at center during the Rams' minicamp back in early May.
"That's really what convinced all of us that was a possibility going into this season," Linehan said. "Then you get into it, and you say we're going to put our best give out there and Andy was our center, so we kind of shelved it. This injury certainly changes things."
If Incognito starts at center, then Todd Steussie would play left guard.
"I'm comfortable because he has done it before," Linehan said of Steussie, a veteran of 13 seasons in the NFL. "If we do go that way, then he can help Richie with the line calls and things because he knows them all."
Turner, who played center for the final 2 1/2 quarters after Andy McCollum went down with a season-ending knee injury in the Rams' 18-0 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, said he was snapping about half the time with the Rams' first-string offense on Thursday.
"I'll be ready," Turner said. "I was ready to go against Denver, I'll be ready to go against San Francisco."
Turner indicated that he'd be a good soldier even if the Rams' coaching staff chooses Incognito.
"I'm here to do whatever they ask me to do, whether it is starting, backing up, practice squad," Turner said. "Whatever they want me to do, I'm fine with it. I want this team to get better, and I want us to get from 1-0 to 2-0, and then 2-0 to 3-0."
All three players listed as questionable on the Rams' injury report -- linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (sprained foot), defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (broken hand) and linebacker Jamal Brooks (infected knee) -- took part in practice on Thursday.
"All of our players that were on the injury report showed progress today," Linehan said. "They got more work in. They're still limited somewhat, but it was good to get everybody back out there."