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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams balance need, logic in deploying top weapon Faulk

    By Clark Judge
    SportsLine.com Senior Writer


    It's not how much time former All-Pro running back Marshall Faulk might miss this season that will determine where St. Louis finishes. It's how much he plays, with the Rams careful how they use a 31-year-old back sidelined with injuries parts of the past four seasons.

    The Rams drafted Steven Jackson in Round 1 for a very good reason. (AP)

    Here's the problem: Faulk is the Rams' best player, and the more he's on the field, the more problems the Rams pose for opponents. But the more he plays, the greater the risk of injury, and he missed a month-and-a-half last year with a broken hand and sore knee.

    It's a sticky situation. St. Louis needs the guy for the stretch drive, especially with Seattle hot on its trail in the NFC West, but rookie Steven Jackson and Lamar Gordon give it two outstanding young backs who can give Faulk what he needs most -- a break.

    Neither is the equal of Faulk -- few backs are -- but both are good enough they could start for some NFL teams. So how do you use them? More specific, how don't you use Marshall Faulk? I'm not sure, but I know who is.

    Mike Martz, come on down.

    "You have to be careful with him," the Rams' head coach said of his prized back. "There's just so much wear and tear. It's a fine line. He's always felt the pressure of having to stay in, even when he was pretty well banged up. But now he has the luxury (of decent backups), so he doesn't have to go more than a couple plays in a row.

    "He's always had to carry the load, so I think this is a relief to him, to be honest with you."

    Now you and I both know Marshall Faulk will go more than a couple of plays in a row. Faulk not only is a terrific player; he's a consummate professional, determined to stay in the huddle until or unless the contest is out of reach. But blowouts are less frequent each year, with 10 of the Rams' 17 games last season decided by 10 or fewer points.

    Martz will leave Faulk's availability up to the man who knows best -- Marshall Faulk. If he wants to stay on the field, Martz will let him.

    But it's a balancing act that bears watching. Players are loath to leave the field, with quarterback Steve Young atypically cursing his head coach when he was pulled in the third quarter of a 40-8 loss in 1994. Young wanted a chance to save the day, but George Seifert wanted to win the season, and there was little chance if Young was hurt.

    So, he spared Young, the team won its next 10 and later captured Super Bowl XXIX.

    "Marshall is smart," Martz said. "He knows if there's something where he needs to come out for awhile, he will come out. He's not concerned with stats. He just wants to win. He understands his value to us, and we really will let him dictate that (his availability) to us. That's his decision, not ours."


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    maineram's Avatar
    maineram is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams balance need, logic in deploying top weapon Faulk

    Either Faulk can play or he can't, bottom line !!! He's had his break/brake, for the past 5+ months. Lace em up and play or get the bleep off the field. To play football you must be a warrior, if he's not up for that task then fire Montomery and hire him as the RB coach. I think all this knee crap is just that, CRAP. Get the helmet on and do your thing, if your hurting your team, sit on the porch and let the big dogs run.
    I think he will be fine this year, and we'll see a Faulk close to the "99" faulk. Martz could use him in SOOO many situations this year to keep him on the field and the defense guessing. He's a situatiuonal back, whatever situation the offense may be in, that's how you use him. Is he a grind it out back, NO, then put him in position to make defenses look stupid. It doesn't need to be behind the QB !!!!

    Maineram :ramlogo:
    and out of the ashes rise ...The Breakfast Club !

  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is online now Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams balance need, logic in deploying top weapon Faulk

    Good points maineram. I agree Faulk's usage should be situational. See what the defense is giving or not giving and use him to counter, confuse and confound. If he is effective carrying most of the load, feed him. If the defense is keying on him and shutting him down, change things up. Jackson adds a whole new dimension to the Ram offense which should allow Martz to add some new tricks to his arsenal. I think opposing defenses that think they have the Rams figured out are in for a rude awakening this year.

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