Rams' Jackson is strong in preseason debut
BY JIM THOMAS Posted: Sunday, August 22, 2010 12:25 am

CLEVELAND Steven Jackson made his preseason debut Saturday night against the Cleveland Browns. And looked like, well, Steven Jackson.

Jackson participated only in the Rams' first offensive series of the game, a 10-play, 65-yard touchdown march. He carried four times for 20 yards, including an 11-yard run on his first carry. The two-time Pro Bowler, who is coming off back surgery in April, did not play last week in the preseason opener against Minnesota.

"It felt good to get out there with the first unit, the starting offensive line and have us start to work on the chemistry and the tempo of the game," Jackson said. "It felt really good just to get my feet wet and get banged (around) a little bit."

Chris Ogbonnaya took over for Jackson and did nothing to give the impression the Rams have a solid option at backup running back. Playing the rest of the first half, Ogbonnaya had seven carries for six yards and caught two passes for four yards. He did not run with much authority, looking tentative on his cuts.

Brown kicks

The plan was to go easy on Josh Brown, the Rams' place-kicker who missed the Minnesota game with a hip injury. Well, Brown was as busy as he's ever been in the first quarter - kicking the ball seven times.

Brown kicked an extra point and field goals of 32 and 39 yards. He kicked off after each of those three scores, and also kicked off to open the game. Brown's first two kickoffs were fielded by Cleveland at the 5- and 4-yard lines. But his next two were shorter, traveling to the Cleveland 12 and 8.

He added field goals of 21 and 28 yards in the fourth quarter.

Lineup change

Gary Gibson started at defensive tackle Saturday in place of Clifton Ryan. Gibson was a central figure in two scuffles at practice Tuesday. He began working with the starting unit last week in camp.

Injury update

After missing the Minnesota game with an ankle injury, cornerback Ron Bartell was back in action Saturday - only to leave briefly when shaken up in the second quarter. He absorbed a blow to the back of his head and neck while making a hard hit on Browns receiver Joshua Cribbs. Bartell returned for the next series and finished the half.

Dominic Douglas, battling to make the team as a backup linebacker, suffered a hamstring injury early in the third quarter and did not return. Wide receiver Dominique Curry took a shot to the jaw and needed stitches to close a cut. Defensive end Victor Adeyanju left with knee and ankle injuries, the severity of which were uncertain after the game. Also, coach Steve Spagnuolo noted that cornerback Marquis Johnson "dinged" his shoulder.

Sitting it out

Even with the return of cornerbacks Bartell and Bradley Fletcher, who also missed the preseason opener against Minnesota with an injury, the Rams were light in the secondary again. Sitting out the Cleveland game were cornerbacks Kevin Dockery (hip), Justin King (calf) and Jerome Murphy (ankle). Also scratched were safeties James Butler (knee) and Kevin Payne (knee).

Other pregame scratches for the Rams were WR Brandon Gibson (hamstring), OG John Greco (chest) and DEs George Selvie (leg) and Eugene Sims (hamstring). Murphy, Selvie and Sims were 2010 draft picks.

Local line

The Cleveland roster includes DE C.J. Mosley of the University of Missouri and defensive lineman Brian Schaefering of Lindenwood University and Hazelwood East High. Mosley did not play Saturday; he's on the physically unable to perform list with a knee injury.