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"Other" Faulk Proves Special

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  • "Other" Faulk Proves Special

    "Other" Faulk Proves Special
    Tuesday, October 5, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Overlooked in the joy of their second win and the overall dominance of the Rams against the ***** on Sunday night was one especially encouraging development.

    The much-maligned special teams, particularly the kickoff coverage that has struggled this season, had probably its best game of the season. San Francisco’s Jamal Robertson returned the opening kickoff just 16 yards to his 19 before linebacker Trev Faulk brought him down.

    Faulk made his return to the field after battling a series of hamstring injuries that started in training camp. Faulk strained it in the preseason and then tore it against Arizona in week one, sidelining him for the next two games.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said Faulk’s performance is a good example of the importance of having quality backups who can play special teams.

    “This goes back and reflects what I was saying earlier about special teams and its effectiveness,” Martz said. “When you have those kinds of players in your backup secondary and linebackers, who eventually can be starters, but when they are down and injured it does affect your special teams. You can see the impact that it has on any special teams to have those guys back and healthy. He certainly made his presence felt.”

    The backup middle linebacker ensured that running back Marshall Faulk wasn’t the only Faulk making a difference Sunday night. Trev Faulk finished with three solo tackles on kickoff coverage and one solo tackle in punt coverage. That output earned him the team’s special teams player of the week award. Faulk’s tackles on the kickoff left San Francisco in mediocre field position each time, with starts from its 19, 25 and 33. Faulk made those tackles on each of the three kickoffs the Rams booted in the first half.

    Martz said he sees a bright future for the former Butkus Award finalist from LSU.

    “He is certainly capable of starting for us as a middle linebacker,” Martz said. “He has probably had as good a camp as anybody that we have had on defense. He’s just been remarkable.”

    TERCERO STARTS: Playing in front of many members of his family and a lot of his friends, offensive lineman Scott Tercero made his first career start at left guard in place of the injured Chris Dishman.

    Tercero played collegiately at California, thus the loyal following at Monster Park on Sunday night. He did not disappoint in his debut, helping pave the way for 174 yards rushing. On a pitch play to running back Steven Jackson,

    Tercero picked up a linebacker that appeared to be out of his sightlines. Tercero made the block and Jackson carried it to the *****’ 7 for a gain of 8 yards.

    Tercero has bounced around the offensive line, serving as the group’s utility man for most of the season. He has spent time at both tackle spots, both guard spots and even taken snaps at center in practice. His value continues to improve as he plays more.

    “I was real pleased with Scotty,” Martz said. “There was a couple of things in there that you can’t teach a football player on the offensive line to do. He has an awareness that is very unusual.”

    QUICK HITS: Rich Coady started at strong safety in place of Adam Archuleta, who missed practice with back problems. Coady showed well, earning defensive player of the week honors for his 10 tackles, two pass breakups, forced fumble and quarterback hit.

    Martz said Archuleta might be in doubt for this week, but he is fine with Coady as his starter if need be.

    “His (Archuleta’s) back is still a concern and it has limited him,” Martz said. “I’m not sure what his status will be for next week, but the way Rich is playing right now you have to feel like Rich is ready to go.”

    Marshall Faulk and receiver Isaac Bruce shared offensive player of the week honors for their outings against San Francisco. Faulk carried for 121 yards on 23 carries and Bruce caught seven passes for 100 yards.

    Martz said Bruce can’t do much to shock him anymore.

    “Nothing that Isaac does surprises me,” Martz said. “We have tried to put him in a position to make plays a little bit more. People understand and know Torry Holt at this point. In the past, they have always worried about Isaac and Torry has quietly had a great career here, so far. They have made a conscientious effort to eliminate him in some way or another over there and of course, that means that Isaac is going to get the ball. I think the combination of that and some of these young receivers coming on down the road is going to help us.”

    NEXT UP: The Rams travel to Seattle for their biggest game of the young season against the undefeated and first-place Seahawks.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamWraith
    Trev Faulk makes impact /Coady to start
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Steven Jackson carried the ball 10 times and scored his first touchdown as a member of the Rams against San Francisco on Sunday.
    (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

    Trev Faulk apparently was brimming with pent-up energy after missing the Rams' past two games with a bad hamstring. The San Francisco ***** paid the price.

    On the opening kickoff Sunday night at Monster Park, Faulk charged downfield, upended a would-be blocker - a "decleating," in NFL parlance - and dropped Jamal Robertson "like nobody else was on the field," coach Mike Martz said.

    Next kickoff, same result: Faulk plowed under a defender and took down Robertson.

    Third kickoff, different situation, same result: The *****, wising up now, double-teamed Faulk and knocked him to the turf. But as Robertson ran by, Faulk "reaches up and makes the tackle," Martz said. "It's pretty incredible, really."

    To complete his evening by the Bay, Faulk threw in a tackle on a punt return, giving him a game-high four special-teams stops - just two behind team leaders Mike Furrey and Justin Lucas. Not bad for a guy with virtually no experience on kick coverage.

    "I've never really done it before," Faulk said. "This is pretty much the first time since maybe my freshman year" at Louisiana State. Faulk is a middle linebacker by trade, but he might be carving out a new niche for himself.

    "It's just fun," said the 6-foot-3, 254-pound native of Lafayette, La. "It's just wide open, wild, bodies flying all over the place. You're just kind of sorting through everything, trying to get to the ball carrier."

    Faulk modestly called his success vs. the ***** "beginner's luck; I was just trying not to be offside on the kick. ... I ran down there and tried to make a play, just tried to get to the ball. Once you get down there, it's not much different from playing linebacker. You're just trying to shed your man and get to the ball carrier. I was just fortunate enough to be able to do that."

    Faulk hadn't played in a regular-season NFL game before seeing special-teams action in the opener against Arizona. He was hurt in that game, though, and spent more time over the next two weeks with the trainers than he did with his teammates.

    "When I first heard 'torn hamstring' I was kind of worried about it," Faulk said. "I just kept believing ... that it wasn't as bad as what everybody thought it was. I tried to take that out of my mind and just focus on trying to get back as soon as I could."

    And make an immediate impact when he did.

    "He is, pound for pound, probably our best hitter ... a terrific collision player, fearless," Martz said. "Some guys have just got a...
    -10-07-2004, 05:46 AM
  • RamDez
    Rams' Faulk gets to face off against Patriots, cousin
    by RamDez
    Rams' Faulk gets to face off against Patriots, cousin


    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS - A bonus for Trev Faulk's first career start: he might get a chance to tackle his cousin for the first time.

    The St. Louis Rams' middle linebacker grew up emulating Kevin Faulk, the New England Patriots' running back who's five years older. Both went to the same school, LSU.

    "He was always kind of the guy whose footsteps I was following, and the guy who I was always coming after," Trev Faulk said.

    The two collaborated on a football camp this summer. They were reunited again in grief when Kevin Faulk's mother, and Trev Faulk's aunt, died in September.

    There's another couple of get-togethers planned for this weekend for the Faulks, neither of whom is related to Rams star Marshall Faulk. One of the cousins' gatherings will be social, the other competitive.

    "We might have dinner Saturday night, a big family event or something like that," Trev Faulk said. "I'll definitely be talking to him."

    The backdrop of this reunion is the first meeting between the teams since the 2002 Super Bowl when the Patriots upset the heavily-favored Rams 20-17.

    "We both have a bunch of family coming down for the game," Trev Faulk said. "They were planning to come to this game before, and now it'll be even more special. It's definitely going to be exciting."

    So, for him, would be some collisions with his cousin on the field.

    "I've got to make the play; I just have to make the play," Trev Faulk said. "Of course that'll be exciting, and in the offseason we'll probably talk about that and get a chance to reflect on it."

    Actually, Trev Faulk would like collisions with anyone.

    "I like a lot of contact," he said. "Even though I'm not the biggest guy out there, I like to run around and bang into people. Sometimes it even feels good to me when I'm getting hit by other people. "

    Faulk, who was undrafted out of college and is in his first season with the Rams, will be the third player to start at middle linebacker this season. Robert Thomas was a No. 1 pick in 2002 and began the year as the starter, but is likely to miss his third straight game with a sprained ankle.

    Rookie Brandon Chillar, a fourth-round pick, started the last two games in the middle but pulled a hamstring in the first quarter of a 31-14 loss at Miami two weeks ago. Chillar returned to practice this week but coach Mike Martz said Faulk has played too well not to start.

    Against the Dolphins, Trev Faulk had six tackles, five of them solos. He's also tied for the team lead with eight special teams tackles.

    "He has seized the starting role, there's no question about it," Martz said. "It's...
    -11-07-2004, 03:00 AM
  • RamDez
    Kickoff coverage improves for Rams
    by RamDez
    Kickoff coverage improves for Rams
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Dec. 02 2004

    If there was a positive to be gleaned from the Rams' 45-17 shellacking Monday
    night in Green Bay, it was a marked improvement in kick coverage. After a
    shake-up in personnel, the Rams yielded an average of 18 yards on four kickoffs
    - their best showing of the season.

    "Field position is a real important part of the game, and that's what special
    teams is all about," said linebacker Drew Wahlroos, who had two tackles on
    kickoffs. "It was good to be able to make some stops. But there's always room
    for improvement."

    Only twice in the previous 10 games had Rams opponents averaged fewer than 20
    yards per kickoff return: 19.2 by San Francisco on Oct. 3 and 18.8 by Seattle a
    week later. In the five games since then, the Rams had surrendered an average
    of 28.1 yards per kickoff.

    In addition, the Packers had zero yards on punt returns. That's because
    newcomer Kevin Stemke, though he averaged only 30 yards on two punts, had good
    hang time and both boots resulted in fair catches inside Green Bay's 20-yard
    line. "That's very important, and that's why he's here," coach Mike Martz said.

    The week before, the Rams were shredded by Buffalo's returns. The Bills took
    one punt 86 yards to the end zone and returned another 53 yards, setting up a
    touchdown in a 37-17 victory.

    "I really felt terrible personally about the Buffalo game and the way that we
    performed on special teams," said linebacker Trev Faulk, who also had two
    special-teams tackles vs. the Packers. "We definitely are the unit that brings
    the offense and defense together, so we've got to hold up our end of the

    Still, the Rams lag badly in league special-teams statistics. Defensively, they
    rank 31st in kickoff coverage (24.1 yards) and are tied for 31st in punt
    coverage (15.5). Offensively, they're No. 31 in both kickoff returns (18.6
    yards) and punt returns (4.0).

    Faulk, Bruce get a break from practice

    Martz has eliminated - for now, anyway - the midweek live tackling sessions he
    instituted last month in an effort to add a physical edge to his team's
    attitude. On Thursday, in fact, the Rams practiced without full pads after an
    off-day for the first time in four weeks.

    "I think they're focused," Martz said. "I don't see the physical aspect of it
    being an issue right now. Now, we're kind of getting back to the regular-season

    Martz kept running back Marshall Faulk and wide receiver Isaac Bruce on the
    sideline. Faulk has a bruised knee, and Martz wants Bruce, an 11-year veteran...
    -12-04-2004, 01:03 AM
  • RamWraith
    Proving Ground: Faulk ready to show he can still excel
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Aug. 27 2004

    Only three players in NFL history have scored more touchdowns than Marshall
    Faulk. Only five players have more yards from scrimmage. Just 13 have more
    rushing yards. So there is no doubting Faulk's greatness, or his eventual spot
    in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    But over the past two seasons, Faulk's rushing totals have decreased while his
    number of knee surgeries mounted. From a career-high 1,382 rushing yards for
    the Rams' 2001 Super Bowl team, Faulk dipped to 953 yards in '02. In 2003, a
    season in which Faulk missed a career-high five games due to injury, the total
    dropped to 818 yards.

    But for those questioning Faulk's future in the game at age 31, Rams defensive
    captain Tyoka Jackson has this message:

    "Keep doing it," Jackson says. "Keep saying all that stuff. 'Marshall's old.
    He's done.' Keep saying it. And just watch and see what happens."

    Just don't say it to Faulk.

    When an out-of-town reporter recently asked Faulk if he could get back to his
    former level of play, Faulk shot back: "I never thought I left."

    Faulk followed up by asking the reporter: "Hey, how long have you been doing
    this? Does your finger hurt? Does your hand hurt from writing?"

    Of course, taking notes doesn't normally involve gang-tackling, collisions or
    pass- blocking, something Faulk has been a part of for 10 NFL seasons - going
    on 11.

    But Faulk is a fiercely proud man, and he has earned that right based on his
    career accomplishments. Doubts?

    "It's hard to doubt greatness," said running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery,
    once an elite back himself. "Any time someone achieves what he has achieved,
    it's hard to put a question mark on it, hard to say, 'Hey, I doubt that this
    guy can do it.'

    "Marshall is going to be the guy to tell us when he can't do it. I go in every
    day, and every practice, every meeting, knowing that he's the guy. And that he
    can do it."

    And now, with the regular season quickly approaching, it's just about time to
    do it again.

    "I'm grinding away at it, getting back into the flow of things," Faulk said
    after his preseason debut Monday in Kansas City. "There's a conditioning factor
    that I'm working on. . . .You never know in this offense until your number's
    called five, six, seven times in a row if you are in the condition you want to
    be. But that's something that's going to come as I get my carries throughout
    the preseason, and throughout the year."

    The Rams have brought Faulk along carefully...
    -08-29-2004, 10:57 AM
  • RamWraith
    Jackson Ready for Action
    by RamWraith
    Saturday, December 4, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    The first time the ***** and Rams met, rookie running back Steven Jackson made a statement about what kind of player he could be. This time, he will get the opportunity to show the NFL what he is.

    With starting running back Marshall Faulk likely a gametime decision because of a bruised left knee (Faulk is questionable on the injury report), Jackson will get his first chance to get the majority of the work at running back. Faulk sat out practice on Thursday and Friday and will not participate in any practice this week.

    Rams coach Mike Martz confirmed that Faulk’s injury will make it difficult to play and Jackson will likely pick up the slack.

    “He's going to carry the load this week," Martz said. “We’ve got to give Marshall a chance to recover.”

    Faulk is the team’s leading rusher with 683 yards and three touchdowns on the season. He took a hit to the knee against Atlanta on Sept. 19 and left the game for a short period before returning. There were no indications that the knee bothered him soon after that, but it has been apparent in recent weeks, as Faulk has struggled to get anything going on the ground.

    Against Buffalo, Faulk gained just 6 yards on 13 carries and Green Bay held him to 7 yards on seven carries. Most of that can be directly attributed to his knee problems, as Faulk gained 139 yards against Seattle on Nov. 14. The left knee is the second knee Faulk has injured. He has had surgeries to repair his right knee.

    Marshall has been banged up the last few weeks, and he has been very sore," Martz said. "We didn't manage him very well. We probably played him more than we should have.

    Jackson’s opportunity has been a long time in the making. After struggling early in the preseason with blitz pickups and the small nuances of the game, Jackson has come on strong. It became evident as the season went along and Jackson’s workload began to increase. In recent weeks, Jackson and Faulk have essentially shared the carries.
    Now, Jackson is ready to take his shot at being the man in the backfield for the Rams.

    “I’m very excited,” Jackson said. “This is something I have been waiting on since I joined the organization. I feel that there is a lot of pressure on me right now, but I think I am going to stand tall and I’m going to handle it pretty well.”

    If Jackson handles this opportunity as well as he did the first one against San Francisco, he will almost certainly be in for a big day. The ***** are solid against the run, with a stout front seven, but the Rams shredded that group in the first meeting.

    Faulk had 121 yards in that game and, in what would be his first coming out party on national television; Jackson ran for 46 yards and scored his first career touchdown on a 24-yard jaunt. Perhaps...
    -12-05-2004, 06:28 AM