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Thomas: Rams Douse Jackson Rumors
Rams douse Jackson rumors
12 hours ago • BY JIM THOMAS
Jeff Fisher normally doesn’t mince words. So in his first media session back in the U.S., he quickly doused the rumors swirling around running back Steven Jackson as Thursday’s NFL trade deadline approaches.
“The Steven Jackson rumors are rumors,” Fisher said early Tuesday night. “He’s our running back. We’re not calling around, nor are we getting calls for that matter. Put that to rest.”
Jackson had just nine touches, on seven carries and two receptions, in Sunday’s 45-7 loss to New England, prompting one reporter to ask if Jackson was being phased out.
“No, he’s not at all,” Fisher said.
When that game got out of hand Fisher went with the younger backs in the fourth quarter, including three carries for rookie Isaiah Pead. (He’d had only one carry all season before Sunday.)
“We’re going to lean on ‘Jack’ down the stretch,” Fisher said. “You know, I sat Sam for the last series, and he doesn’t like it. I love that about both of those guys. But they understand there’s a long road ahead of ‘em.”
So for the rest of this season, at least, Jackson will be a big part of the offense.
But the overriding question remains, when will this offense start scoring touchdowns?
“Of course the numbers are what they reflect on offense,” Fisher said. “We just need to get the ball in the end zone. I thought we were off to a good start (Sunday) and then — we’ll credit them, but we also did some things to ourselves from a penalty standpoint that were hard to overcome.”
Two interceptions in the red zone didn’t help against the Patriots. And on the series that ended in the botched field-goal attempt late in the first half, instead of facing a second-and-4 from the New England 35, the Rams found themselves in a first-and-20 problem from their own 49 because of a holding penalty against left guard Shelley Smith.
“It’s a matter of carrying balance, like I said, into the red zone with run and pass and making plays,” Fisher said. “We haven’t had enough opportunities in the red zone to work on it. But we’re definitely gonna spend most of our work this week in there.”
The Rams will practice today and Thursday before taking the next four days off, as mandated by the new collective bargaining agreement for teams in bye weeks.
The Rams hope to have receiver Danny Amendola back when they return to action Nov. 11 in San Francisco. Rookie Chris Givens, if nothing else, has established himself as a bona fide deep threat. But what about Brian Quick, the Rams’ struggling second-round pick at wide receiver?
“He’s still got a ways to go, but he’s coming,” Fisher said. “You see the athleticism and his ability to go up and make a play, which he made (Sunday).”
Fisher was referring to a 39-yard reception made by Quick late in the fourth quarter with Kellen Clemens in at quarterback.
“Kellen gave him a nice ball,” Fisher said.
But Quick also dropped a pass over the middle when he was wide open. Before he left the game, Bradford also had to get Quick lined up properly on another play.
“On the ‘in-break’ that he dropped, he ran it a little bit too soon,” Fisher said. “He gets a little excited at times, but he’s coming. So, it’s halfway through the season and he’s coming along.”
Lastly, on the first of the two red-zone interceptions, Quick seemed to lose track of an under-thrown ball on a play in which Bradford was hit, and was a spectator while Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard came down with the ball.
“Put your feet in the ground and come up and break up that play, and then touch him down,” Fisher said.
Dennard fell to the ground untouched after making the interception and then got up to run. Perhaps thinking he was still playing college rules — in which the play’s over once a player’s on the ground whether he’s touched by the opposing team or not — Quick didn’t react immediately to touch Dennard down.
“He’s going to be a very good player for us,” Fisher said. “He’s just behind. Chris is playing a little bit more than he is, but Brian’s going to be a good player. I have no concerns about him. Some guys just take a little longer early on to get in the flow and that’s actually been the case with both of them.”
The expectation is that Quick’s role should gradually increase over the second half of the season.
Up front, Fisher is hoping to get left tackle Rodger Saffold (knee) and center Scott Wells (foot) back in the near future.
“We’ve got a chance to get ‘Rog’ active on the field this week,” Fisher said. “To what extent? I don’t know. We’ll see, but he’s getting closer.”
In terms of returning to practice and eventually playing in games, Fisher said Wells is a little behind Saffold when it comes to a projected return.
“We’ve got a lot of valuable experience when we get them back,” Fisher said. “Rob (Turner)’s had great experience up to this point. So, Rob can back up both places (center and guard) and then we’ve got, obviously, Joe (Barksdale) and Wayne (Hunter) out there that can back up both (tackles).”
Fisher said it’s possible Barksdale or Hunter could start working inside at guard once Saffold returns.
There has been some media and fan speculation about moving Saffold inside to guard once he returns. But Fisher squashed that just like he did the Jackson trade rumors.
When asked if he could see Saffold moving to guard once he returns, Fisher replied: “No, I don’t. He’s very athletic and talented at left tackle.”
Re: Thomas: Rams Douse Jackson Rumors
They had a note about this on a local radio station. Jackson is due roughly $3.5 million the second half of the season plus incentives. Nobody really has that type of money available under the cap so they'd have to cut someone significant to get it. Difficult to do this time of the year.
Re: Thomas: Rams Douse Jackson RumorsIn terms of returning to practice and eventually playing in games, Fisher said Wells is a little behind Saffold when it comes to a projected return.
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