Associated Press


ST. LOUIS -- When the Rams returned to the practice fields in St. Louis on Friday, they left behind the cooler weather of their Wisconsin training camp. What they couldn't leave on the campus of Concordia University, though, were the problems plaguing them even when they were at their new summer home.

Running back Steven Jackson continued to holdout. Jackson missed all of training camp while seeking a new contract. He was not at Rams Park on Friday either, as the team works to bring him to practice.

Coach Scott Linehan met with President of Football Operations Jay Zygmunt on Thursday. Linehan said progress is being made, though the extent of that progress is unclear.


Since becoming a regular starter in 2005, Jackson has been among the NFL's best running backs.


"I know they have had some talks," Linehan said. "I know it's moving along. Whatever that means, it sounds positive to me."

Jackson's holdout has reached 22 days, and it's becoming more important that he report with the regular season opener on Sept. 7.

Jackson won't be the only big-name runner missing from the field in Saturday's preseason home opener. San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson almost certainly won't participate, though that's a matter of preservation and not money.

Beyond the missing running backs, the Rams have some other issues that need fixing after last week's 34-13 loss to Tennessee in the exhibition opener.

"We saw a lot of improvement in our team during our time away," Linehan said. "We didn't see it on the field so much in a number of areas."

Two areas specifically continue to plague the Rams.

The first-team offense struggled mightily against the Titans and the top offensive unit has failed to score a touchdown in nine preseason games under Linehan.

That group will start and play a "significant amount" according to Linehan. It's expected the starters will play a good portion of the first half, if not all of it.

On defense, the Rams are looking to make amends after giving up 340 rushing yards and 7.9 yards per carry to the Titans.

Notes: Rams receiver Torry Holt might not play against the Chargers because of back spasms that have limited him in practice this week. Linebacker Will Witherspoon and receiver Donnie Avery will be game time decisions.