JACKSONVILLE -- In keeping with my one-day tradition of covering the other 2,500 players in the NFL aside from The One You're Hearing Too Much About, I bring some nuggets from the St. Louis Rams.
Before I do, I have to share this release from ESPN that arrived via e-mail Monday morning:
"ESPN will present a SportsCenter special today at 12:30 p.m. ET featuring live coverage of Brett Favre's arrival at Green Bay Packers camp for a physical examination and a conditioning test all players must pass before they are placed on the 80-man active roster.''
Shoot! I'm on the road. Did anyone TiVo that? I'm dying to see Brett Favre walk out of his car and walk into a building!
Brennan Smith, of Tucson writes: "Hey, Peter, do you have any info on the Steven Jackson holdout? He is the cornerstone of the Rams offense in Al Saunders' system and it seems like the Rams management has just pushed it aside and taken the 'I'm not talking to you' cold-shoulder approach about his negotiations. It's safe to say I'm worried as a Rams fan.''
Brennan, don't be worried. Even though the two sides haven't talked in over a week, I think the team will eventually pay him market money for a franchise back, and Jackson will be signed by mid-August and be in camp in plenty of time to learn Saunders' encyclopedia (er, playbook) for the opener (see colleague Bucky Brooks' article on the topic here). The team knows how important Jackson is to its offense, and I think the front office will crack the safe for him. He's not the kind of dime-a-dozen back that can be replaced without it hurting, because there's no one east of San Diego right now who can run and catch as well as Jackson.
Other Rams ramblings:
--The Rams expect Orlando Pace, still, to be their opening-day starter at left tackle. He hasn't gone all out in practice yet, but the man who's been hurt more than healthy in the past three years expects to be using his rehabbing arm full-speed by late this month.
--Chris Long is still very much in the learning-curve part of training camp and will start opening day, but don't look for him to have much impact early. I'm told his head is swimming as he goes through a major adjustment from college. But that's to be expected in a pro defense, particularly in one that will rely on him so heavily to be a big factor early.
--Leonard Little, the end opposite Long, is having a great camp and should be a double-digit sack guy, again, at 33.
--Marc Bulger is having an accurate, strong camp. He's the kind of heady guy who can adapt well to Saunders' difficult scheme.