Kyle Boller still has soreness in thigh
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
12/12/2009

Perhaps the Rams were fortunate that kickoff for Sunday's game at Tennessee was moved back to 3:05 p.m. under the NFL flex-scheduling program. Quarterback Kyle Boller apparently will need as much time as possible to heal his sore thigh.

"I feel all right," Boller said after seeing limited action at practice Friday. "We still have 48 hours till the game. ... I'm not going to jeopardize the team if I'm not ready. I just feel like the progress I've made since yesterday is good. ... I don't think it should be a problem."

Boller was hurt last Sunday in the 17-9 loss at Chicago. He went through a full practice Wednesday but woke up sore Thursday. "It set him back a little bit," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "We're trying not to go backward."

Spagnuolo decreased Boller's reps significantly Thursday and Friday. Backing off with Boller meant ramping up with rookie Keith Null, who moved up to No. 2 when starter Marc Bulger was injured three weeks ago. Null, who had been running the scout-team offense, got his most extensive work with the first team all season.

"It's definitely good to get in, call our plays, run our plays and get some experience; it helps a ton," said Null, a sixth-round draft pick from NCAA Division II West Texas A&M. "It's one thing to watch and say the play while you're standing back, and it's another thing to actually get in the huddle, call it and then run that play."

Even if Boller starts vs. the Titans, as is fully expected, another shot to his leg could shove Null into his first regular-season action. "I have to be ready for anything," he said. "Being the backup, now you're only one play away."

Null, who played in a spread offense in college, has made considerable progress since the spring, Spagnuolo reported.

"He looks more comfortable, I guess is the best way to say it," Spagnuolo said. "I can remember back in (organized team activities) when taking a snap was a little bit different for him. So he's come a long way."

SMITH OUT AGAIN

Rookie Jason Smith, still experiencing the effects of a concussion, has been ruled out of a third consecutive game. Veteran Adam Goldberg will start again at right tackle.

Running back Steven Jackson (back) participated in a handful of plays in the early "install" period, then sat out the rest of practice. For the third Friday in a row, he was listed as questionable on the injury report.

Fullback Mike Karney (neck) and defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey (wrist) also were questionable. Probables were Boller, wide receivers Donnie Avery (shoulder) and Brandon Gibson (ankle), linebacker James Laurinaitis (shoulder) and defensive tackle Darell Scott (neck).

For the Titans, quarterback Vince Young (knee) was questionable, and running back Chris Johnson (ankle), the NFL's leading rusher, was probable.

A FIRST FOR JONES

In a statistical oddity, Rams punter Donnie Jones had a better net average (45.7 yards) than gross average (45.3) against the Bears. Only one punt of his punts was fielded, and Devin Hester lost 3 yards on the return.

"I think that was a first" in his six seasons, Jones said. "That's a credit to the guys covering. I can only do so much. Those guys, they go out and play hard every week. They've done an excellent job all year."

RAM-BLINGS

Asked how the Rams would try to contain Johnson, Spagnuolo quipped, "Oh, man ... get 12 guys on the field?" ... The Rams and Titans, foes in the 2000 Super Bowl, haven't met in the regular season since 2005. ... Jeff Fisher, in his 15th season at Tennessee, is the league's longest-tenured head coach.