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  • Rams release tackle, cut down to 65

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Tuesday, Aug. 31 2004

    The Rams reached the 65-player limit Tuesday by releasing offensive tackle
    Jeremy Phillips. The 53-man final roster must be determined by 3 p.m. Sunday.

    The team negotiated an injury settlement with Phillips before waiving him.
    Phillips, an undrafted rookie from Lenoir-Rhyne, had been sidelined for about
    three weeks with a neck injury.

    Rams rookie leads NFL in rushing

    Rams rookie Steven Jackson is the NFL's top rusher in the preseason, with 251
    yards in three games. The New York Giants' Ron Dayne is next, with 228 yards.
    However, Dayne is averaging 7.4 yards a carry to 4.6 for Jackson, the team's
    first-round draft pick.

    On Friday night, Jackson ran for 125 yards, which is also a league high, in a
    28-3 victory over Washington. He was given 25 carries, an unusually high
    workload for a preseason game. Coach Mike Martz said it was done with a

    "You've got a guy trying to get used to having to carry the load when (he's)
    exhausted. And you could see he made one or two mental errors when he got
    really tired," Martz explained. "But it was a terrific learning experience for
    him. That's when you have to really reach down and find something that you
    didn't know was there."

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Rookie tight end may realize impossible dream
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Sep. 02 2004

    First, veteran tight end Cam Cleeland pulled a hamstring in the early days of
    training camp. Rookie Erik Jensen, drafted in the seventh round as a tight end,
    was moved to fullback.

    Just like that, Mike Brake was getting an increasing number of reps and
    building momentum in what at first appeared to be a highly improbable quest to
    land a spot on the Rams' roster. The team is expected to keep three tight ends:
    Brandon Manumaleuna and Cleeland are locks, and at this point, Brake is the
    only other tight end still around.

    "It's been crazy," said Brake, an undrafted rookie from the University of
    Akron. "I got some opportunities to play, and I think I made the most of them.
    This last game, I should get quite a few reps, and I'll just try to prove
    myself once again."

    The Rams (1-2) wrap up their preseason schedule at 9 tonight (St. Louis time)
    against the Raiders (2-1) in Oakland. The regular season gets under way Sept.
    12 at the Edward Jones Dome, with NFC West foe Arizona providing the

    Brake, a linebacker at Hilliard (Ohio) High, had no major-college offers. He
    chose Akron because it was the "first one to offer me (a scholarship), I liked
    the coaches, I liked the school, I liked the guys on the team. . . . We never
    went to a bowl game; 7-5 was our best record. But I wouldn't take that back at

    Brake, 24, started only 15 games for the Zips, although he appeared in 45. He
    totaled 49 catches for 736 yards and 11 touchdowns. He didn't expect to be
    drafted, but he believed he had NFL-caliber skills.

    "I knew if I got the chance, I could do it," said Brake, 6 feet 4 and 256
    pounds. "I knew I could compete at this level. So I'm not really surprised."

    Coach Mike Martz said Brake "has done a much better job than we anticipated.
    He's really picked things up well. . . . He's a better receiver than I would've
    given him credit for when he first got here. He's got excellent hands. The
    physical part of it obviously is so much more than what he was used to at
    Akron, and he's learning that part of it. But he'll be fine."

    Martz wants Jackson to get a lot of work

    Rams rookie Steven Jackson is the NFL's top rusher in the preseason heading
    into tonight's games. He has 251 yards in three games. The New York Giants' Ron
    Dayne is next, with 228 yards. However, Dayne is averaging 7.4 yards per carry
    to 4.6 for Jackson, the team's first-round draft pick.

    On Friday night, Jackson ran for 125 yards - also a league high - in a 28-3
    -09-02-2004, 05:20 AM
  • RamWraith
    Cason steps up in the nick of time
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Sep. 05 2005

    One last chance. That's what running back Aveion Cason figured he had before
    the Rams' final preseason game Friday against Kansas City.

    A good performance might save him from the final round of cuts. But a poor
    showing almost surely would deprive him of a spot on the 53-man roster. Cason
    acknowledged that the butterflies in his belly were flapping furiously before
    kickoff at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "I had a lot of anxiety," said Cason, a 5-foot-10, 204-pound, fifth-year pro
    out of Illinois State. "Coach (Mike) Martz came to me and asked me if I was
    ready to go. I kind of figured I was going to be in there for a while. I
    thought, 'It's time to go.' ... I felt like I had to go in there and make some
    things happen."

    Cason's assessment of his situation was on the mark. Asked Monday whether Cason
    needed a strong outing against the Chiefs to make the team, Martz didn't
    hesitate. "Yes, he did," he said. "And I thought he had an excellent game."

    Cason, 26, carried 20 times for 67 yards and a 1-yard touchdown in the Rams'
    27-23 victory. He also averaged 23.0 yards on six kickoff returns. "His returns
    helped him immensely," Martz said.

    The cuts were made Saturday, a day earlier than the league deadline. "It kind
    of caught me off-guard," Cason said. "I was getting calls: 'This guy left, this
    guy's gone.'"

    How did he know he'd made the squad? "I didn't receive a call," he said,
    smiling. "That's how I looked at it."

    The Rams signed Cason as a free agent last Dec. 7 - a couple of months after
    Dallas released him - because Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson were nursing
    bruised knees. Cason didn't get any carries, but he averaged 22.1 yards on 14
    kickoff returns in three games.

    Some speculated that he would have to beat out Arlen Harris for a roster spot
    this year, but Martz kept four running backs. Cason again should see most of
    his action on special teams.

    "Ready to go"

    With the preseason schedule complete, the roster final and the season opener
    just six days off, a different atmosphere enveloped Rams Park on Monday.

    "It's very, very intense," Martz said. "The focus is incredible and the
    attention to detail. You start getting yourself ready, and you start thinking
    about the game. There are butterflies. It's that time of the year. Ready to

    With the rival ***** providing the opposition Sunday, the anticipation is amped
    up even more. "San Francisco's always special,"...
    -09-06-2005, 04:17 AM
  • RamWraith
    Jackson eager to haul ball for Rams
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats

    It was a long seven months ago that Rams coach Mike Martz designated Steven Jackson as his No. 1 running back. Since then, Jackson has had the second Sunday of September on his mind.

    "It's been a while, yeah," Jackson said. "This Sunday is going to be full of excitement for me. ... Pregame, I know I'm going to have the jitters. But after a while, I'm pretty sure I'm going to calm down."

    Jackson, the team's first-round draft choice in 2004, started three times last year. But until Martz made his announcement in February, Jackson was perched behind Marshall Faulk on the depth chart.

    Now, with the 32-year-old Faulk designated for a complementary role, the Rams' running game rests in the hands of Jackson, a 6-foot-2, 231-pound Oregon State product. And he can't wait to reward Martz's trust, starting with Sunday's regular-season opener in San Francisco.

    "I have plenty of goals for this year, not only individually, but for the team," said Jackson, 22. "I think we're fully capable of accomplishing those."

    Jackson was a bit cagey when discussing his own expectations.

    "If I could break 1,000 (rushing) yards, that'd be good. I've never done that," he said. "And 1,500 yards would be an excellent year. Me personally, I want more than that."

    Despite playing on a balky knee that was "cleaned up" during offseason surgery, Jackson piled up 673 yards in 134 carries last year, a gaudy 5.0-yard average. He also caught 19 passes for 189 yards.

    In the preseason this summer, Jackson had 32 carries for 215 yards, a 6.7 average. Healthy and primed, Jackson said his first assignment Sunday would be keeping his emotions in check.

    "That's going to be the biggest thing," he said. "Of course, I want to go out there and make big plays and I want to help my team win. But when you calm yourself down and just let the game come to you, that's when things happen for you."

    But will Martz, who loves to throw the ball, truly commit to the running game?

    "You never know what to expect from Mike," Jackson said. "It's up to me, when I do have a chance to run, to make something happen. And that's what I plan on doing."

    And if he thinks he isn't getting the ball enough, Jackson said he wouldn't hesitate to confront Martz - even early in the game.

    "I won't wait till halftime to say it," Jackson said, laughing. "I think a lot of people know how I feel about running the ball."

    That's just fine with the coach.

    "I'd be disappointed if he didn't do that," Martz said. "That's what he's used to and that's what he wants. And of course, that's what you want in...
    -09-09-2005, 04:16 AM
  • RamDez
    Jackson lives up to his draft slot in opener of the exhibition season
    by RamDez
    Jackson lives up to his draft slot in opener of the exhibition season
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    MACOMB, Ill. - They're not casting his bust just yet in Canton, Ohio. But there was a reason Steven Jackson was the first running back selected in the 2004 draft. And he provided some clues with a strong performance in Thursday's exhibition game against Chicago.

    Even though the Rams lost 13-10 in overtime, Jackson didn't disappoint. He carried 15 times for 73 yards, averaging 4.9 yards a carry. Throw in his four catches for 18 yards, and Jackson had 91 yards from scrimmage - the top total by any player on either team.

    "I'm extremely pleased with my effort, and the things that the offensive line created for me to do," Jackson said.

    Nineteen "touches" - the 15 carries, plus the four catches - is a substantial workload for anybody during the preseason when rosters are bloated with third- and fourth-stringers.

    "I kind of looked forward to it," Jackson said. "I knew Marshall (Faulk) wasn't going to go. Lamar (Gordon) is down right now, so I kind of knew I was going to be taking a heavy load.

    "I know that I had a couple miscues that I need to clean up. For the most part I felt pretty comfortable, and more relaxed than I have the whole camp."

    Jackson might have approached 100 yards rushing had he not stumbled to the ground on his longest gain of the night - an 18-yard carry in the third quarter that could have gone much farther.

    "It shows that your legs are a little tired from camp," Jackson said. "But I've got to freshen up. I've got to run through that. Who knows? That could've been the play that helped win the game."

    Jackson could be in for a heavy workload Aug. 23 in Kansas City, the Rams' next preseason game. Gordon will be sidelined for about three more weeks after ankle surgery. Arlen Harris' status is uncertain after Harris suffered a concussion after just four carries against Chicago. That leaves Marshall Faulk and ... Dusty McGrorty as the only other running back possibilities. McGrorty, an undrafted free agent, did not get any carries against Chicago.

    As for Faulk, coach Mike Martz is considering playing him against the Chiefs, but normally likes to wait until the third preseason game before using Faulk in August.

    Bulger's night

    Did quarterback Marc Bulger get enough work against the Bears?

    "It's never enough," Bulger said. "But that's what you expect coming into the first preseason game. We got a good combination of red zone (work), drop-back passes, play-action passes, some runs. For the first game, I think we were happy to get that much accomplished."

    Bulger was in for only the Rams' first series - a 12-play, 64-yard
    -08-14-2004, 01:33 AM
  • RamWraith
    Jackson runs for 148 yards in his return
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Tuesday, Dec. 28 2004

    This time, Steven Jackson did play.

    The Rams' rookie running back took a handoff from quarterback Marc Bulger on
    the second play of the game Monday night and ripped off a 28-yard gain around
    left end. And that was just the beginning.

    Jackson, the team's first-round draft pick in April, carried six times on the
    Rams' opening possession, picking up 46 yards on their 10-play, 73-yard drive
    for a 7-0 lead against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Edward Jones Dome.
    Jackson scored on a 5-yard run.

    By halftime, Jackson already had moved into triple figures, rushing for 114
    yards on 13 carries.

    Jackson finished with 148 yards on 24 attempts in the Rams' 20-7 victory. He
    left midway through the fourth quarter after reinjuring his right knee. Coach
    Mike Martz said Jackson had suffered a bone bruise and would have an MRI today.

    "It was a statement game," Jackson said. "I hadn't had a chance to be out there
    in two weeks, so it was a big statement. I wanted to make up for lost time."

    Turn back the calendar a week. There was Jackson, recovered from the bruised
    knee that kept him out Dec. 12 at Carolina, on the sideline at Sun Devil
    Stadium. Marshall Faulk started, and Jackson waited for his chance.

    And waited ... and waited ... and waited ...

    When the game ended, Arizona had steamrolled the Rams 31-7. And Jackson hadn't
    played a down. This, against a Cardinals outfit that ranked near the bottom of
    the league in run defense.

    Work in Faulk's ineffectiveness - he gained only 22 yards on 10 carries - and
    Jackson's absence seemed even more puzzling. The final chapter in this bizarre
    saga was added by Martz, who said after the game - and repeated again Monday -
    that he hadn't realized during the action that Jackson didn't move off the

    This time, Jackson got most of the workload in the backfield, as the Rams
    gashed the Eagles for a season-high 209 yards on the ground. He had career
    highs in carries and yards, and averaged a whopping 6.2 yards an attempt.

    "We wanted to come out and run the ball," Jackson said. "We haven't done it too
    much this season. Once we got off to a fast start, we knew it was something we
    wanted to keep on doing."

    The emphasis on the run game at the outset "was important, because we got into
    a rhythm," tackle Orlando Pace said. "We had some success with the running
    plays, and it got the ball rolling for us."

    As for his individual performance - especially after missing the last two games
    - Jackson said:...
    -12-28-2004, 04:34 PM