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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams expect more from Antonio Pittman

    St. Louis Rams expect more from Antonio Pittman with Steven Jackson still injured

    By Bill Coats

    In his role as Steven Jackson's understudy, Antonio Pittman received well-deserved acclaim for his opening performance. His 83 rushing yards and 25 receiving yards Oct. 26 at New England marked career highs for the second-year running back out of Ohio State.

    Since then, however, the reviews haven't been so kind. Pittman picked up just 40 yards on 23 carries a woeful 1.7-yard average in the last two games, lopsided losses to Arizona and the New York Jets.

    Rams coach Jim Haslett has challenged Pittman to make the most out of the chances he's getting to start with Jackson sidelined.

    "He needs to capitalize on them," Haslett said. "I've already told him that he needs to run his butt of this week and prove that he deserves this opportunity."

    Jackson didn't accompany the team on its flight to San Francisco for Sunday's meeting with the *****. He was scheduled to see a specialist to try to determine why his strained right thigh muscle is taking so long to heal. Jackson was hurt Oct. 19 against Dallas, and the injury hasn't responded to treatment. He'll miss his third game in the last four.

    The Rams are generating less offense (256 yards a game) than all but one other outfit in the NFL. Haslett indicated that lack of production on the ground is the key to their difficulties.

    "We're not a team that can sit there and throw it around 50 times a game like some of these teams right now," he said. "For us to be effective on offense, we've got to have an effective running game."

    Which is why he's demanding more out of Pittman. Haslett was particularly displeased with his meager numbers last week at the Meadowlands.

    "He can't rush 13 attempts for 28 yards," Haslett said. "He needs to break through and get a hundred-yard game and show that he's a back that can play in the league for a long time."

    That, of course, is Pittman's goal, too.

    "I've just got to go out there and step up to the challenge ... be productive and get the job done," he said. "I think as a team, we're all less than satisfied with how we're playing. We're not winning, and offensively we're not being very productive."

    Pittman, 5 feet 11 and 207 pounds, was hampered for a while with a hamstring injury. But that isn't an issue now, Haslett insisted. "He missed a lot of time and he was a little rusty," he said. "He's ready to go now, and he needs to step up and prove it."


    Jackson's continued absence means that Kenneth Darby probably will have an opportunity to redeem himself after fumbling twice in the first half vs. the Jets and being banished to the bench.

    "If I get another chance, I'm going to take full advantage of it and make up for what I did last week," Darby said. "I watched the film and evaluated myself pretty good. I think this week is going to be a lot different than last week. ...

    "I'm not going to put the ball on the ground anymore the rest of the year."


    In addition to Jackson, the Rams will be without linebacker Chris Draft (foot), tackle John Greco (knee), cornerback Tye Hill (knee) and defensive end Eric Moore (neck).

    Greco's left kneecap popped out of place briefly at practice Thursday. An exam showed no significant damage. "He should be all right next week," Haslett said.


    Hill returned from his visit Monday with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., with a better understanding of why his knee still is ailing a month and a half after arthroscopic surgery for torn cartilage.

    "We thought it was four to six weeks; really, it was a six- to eight-week injury," Hill said. "I've got a lot of fluid in my knee. That's what's stopping me; that's where the pain's coming from. We've just got to get the swelling out and go from there."

    Although there is no specific timetable for his return, Hill is adamant about avoiding the injured-reserve list. "It's definitely been a nightmare year, but I still want to get out there," he said. "I'd rather be inside a nightmare instead of outside it."


    The *****' venue has been renamed Candlestick Park after 10 years as 3Com Park and then three years as Monster Park. ... Haslett was 4-2 against the ***** as head coach of the New Orleans Saints.

  2. #2
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Rams expect more from Antonio Pittman

    Like the comment from Darby, hopefully he gets more shots this week and keeps his word.
    Pittmas wasn't impressive last week, but I know he was still banged up some. Hopefully he's recovered and is able to play a lot better this week.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams expect more from Antonio Pittman

    Hmm, what happened to Greco's knee? Never heard that he was injured.

    Let's hope Pittman is productive this game. If he isn't producing by halftime, put Darby or Minor in.

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