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Seahawks' run defense will pose a tough challenge
Jackson was limited to season-low 56 yards in first meeting
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - Running the ball was the one thing that the St. Louis Rams didn't do well on offense in their first meeting against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Rams had 368 yards of offense in their 30-28 loss to the Seahawks, but only 59 of those yards came on the ground.
"We've got to do a better job running the ball against them," Rams coach Scott Linehan said of their rematch with the Seahawks at 3:15 p.m. Sunday at Qwest Field. "It was probably our worst job all year as far as having any effect in the run game."
Rams running back Steven Jackson had a season-low 56 rushing yards on 20 carries, which calculates to a paltry 2.8 yards per carry.
Jackson said the Seahawks didn't do anything fancy to stop the run. They just put eight men in the box.
"We just need to be solid upfront," Jackson said. "They're not doing anything different than we've faced all year. They made the running game a priority, and knowing that, we have our adjustments that we are going to make.
"Coach Linehan will find others ways of getting me the ball."
Linehan managed to get the ball in Jackson's hands 33 times last Sunday in a 31-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs, hoping to take away the long pass, played zone defense most of the game.
The Rams countered by dumping the ball off to Jackson. He had 13 catches for 133 yards to go with 19 carries for 86 yards in the game.
"Each week, we expect a team to try to take away either our passing game or our running game, and we go from there," Jackson said. "It's like last week when they tried to double Torry (Holt) and Isaac (Bruce) a lot, which left me open."
Jackson doesn't expect to get as many touches every game as he got last Sunday.
"We have a lot of playmakers on the field," Jackson said. "You tend to be greedy, but it's hard for the coaches to get you 30-40 carries when you have guys on the outside ready to make plays."
Linehan expects the Seahawks, who rank 23rd in the NFL in rush defense, to again emphasize stopping the run against the Rams.
"Everybody's trying to make offenses one-dimensional, and whether you have a good look to run the ball or not, if you're not getting yards it's on us getting everybody blocked, the schemes we're running, types of runs we're running, and being able to break some tackles, too," Linehan said. "I think that is going to be key this game."
Reed makes his return
After three games on the inactive list, J.R. Reed will be back returning kickoffs for the Rams on Sunday.
A season-ending knee injury to Tony Fisher has enabled Reed to reclaim the job.
"That's what I'm here for," Reed said of returning kickoffs. "I've got three good weeks of rest. Practice is still pretty hard, but there's no banging and no hitting."
Reed returned kickoffs in the Rams' first five games this season. He averaged 20.2 per return until injuries in the secondary caused the Rams' coaching staff to go with safety Dwaine Carpenter on their game-roster instead of Reed.
"He's been able to get himself fresh," Linehan said of Reed. "He hasn't been playing. There was a lot of tempo and intensity to our return game today. J.R. certainly wants to take advantage of a fresh, new start."
Reed said that returning kickoffs in wet weather can be especially challenging. The weather forecast for Sunday in Seattle calls for a 70 percent chance of rain.
"If it's a wet day, that's not always good for a returner," Reed said. "It's supposed to rain out there, so I have to make sure that I secure the ball and get what I can."
It's still full speed ahead for linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who is attempting to return after a two-week absence because of a broken left hand.
"He had another good day; he didn't miss a beat," Linehan said. "It's looking more and more positive for this week."
• The Rams' practice was shorter, but more intense Thursday. The team finished practice about 20 minutes sooner than normal.
"We kind of shortened up a couple periods and turned it up a little bit," Linehan said. "It was good. I think the intensity of what we're doing is much better than what it's been recently.
"Hopefully, that carries over to the game."
• Linehan said there's a chance that defensive end Tony Bryant will be active for the Seahawks.
Bryant has been inactive for the two games since he was signed as a free agent on Oct. 18.
"We're considering that this week," Linehan said. "First of all, I think he's in much better shape now. (He) had a little problem with soreness in his knee.
"He's had a knee that's bothering him the last year or two. (He) looks much better this week. He's definitely a candidate for being up this week."