By Jim Thomas

When it comes to defensive tackle Ryan “Big Grease” Pickett, the Rams’ loss has been Green Bay’s gain. In one of the franchise’s biggest free-agent mistakes since the move to St. Louis, the Rams let Pickett walk as an unrestricted free agent after the 2005 season.

The club decided it was time for Jimmy Kennedy to take over at nose tackle. Meanwhile, Pickett signed a relatively modest contract with the Packers. Oops!

“He’s definitely a joy to work with,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He has been extremely consistent for us both last year and this year. He’s having another great season. He’s one of our anchors in our run defense.”

Still only 28, Pickett was a first-round draft pick by the Rams in 2001. Very active for an inside run defender, Pickett was surpassed in tackles by only Green Bay’s Aaron Kampman and Tennessee’s Kyle Vanden Bosch over the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Pickett is up to his old tricks this season. Although he doesn’t bring much as a pass rusher, he remains durable, productive and a beast at the point of attack. Entering Sunday’s game with the Rams, Pickett is fifth among the Packers in tackles, with 54.

“Big Grease is playing his butt off,” Rams wide receiver Torry Holt said. “I wish we still had him here.”

This is Pickett’s second contest against the Rams since signing with Green Bay; the teams played last season at Lambeau Field.

“This is one of those games that he has probably circled year in and year out,” Rams running back Steven Jackson said. “He had a good game against us last year, and we have to make sure that we don’t let him do that a second year in a row.”

Continuance for Byrd

Rams tight end Dominique Byrd has been granted a continuance in his trial for assault and armed criminal action stemming from a nightclub scuffle in downtown St. Louis in December 2006. A Dec. 10 court date was pushed back to March 3. Byrd was charged with misdemeanor assault, felony assault and felony armed criminal action.

Earlier this year in Los Angeles Superior Court, Byrd pleaded no-contest to driving under the influence of alcohol. As a result, Byrd received three years probation, was fined an unspecified amount and was ordered to participate in an alcohol treatment counseling program.