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  • Faulk will not play

    Ailing Faulk expected to sit

    JACKSON WILL CARRY LOAD, MARTZ SAYS

    By Daniel Brown

    Mercury News


    St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk is unlikely to face the ***** on Sunday, but his replacement will hardly be a stranger to Coach Dennis Erickson.

    Steven Jackson played for Erickson at Oregon State.

    ``He's a great player. I knew that a long time ago,'' Erickson said. ``He's big, fast, strong smart, catches it -- does it all. It's a great deal for Marshall, because Marshall gets to rest. It might increase Marshall's career a few years having Steve there.''

    Faulk apparently needs his understudy this weekend. The Rams downgraded him from probable to questionable because of a knee injury. Faulk had 20 carries for only 13 yards the past two weeks, and St. Louis Coach Mike Martz said Thursday that it was time to get Jackson more involved.

    ``He's going to carry the load this week,'' Martz told reporters in St. Louis. ``We've got to give Marshall a chance to recover.''

    Last year, Faulk had two operations on his right knee. Until this week, however, the Rams had yet to mention his trouble this season.

    ``He's very quiet about it and doesn't say anything about it,'' Martz said. ``Nonetheless, we have to do the right thing by Marshall.''

    That means more time for Jackson, who has averaged 5.1 yards in 74 carries. He has led the Rams in rushing four times, including the past two games. His 377 yards rank second among rookies, trailing Detroit's Kevin Jones (507 yards).

    ``I love Steven dearly,'' Erickson said, ``but I won't love him all that much on Sunday.''

    • Rookie guard Justin Smiley will head to the bench, even after offensive-line coach Gregg Smith told him that he had ``one of his best games of the year.''

    Smiley recognizes that Kwame Harris, the *****' first-round draft pick in 2003, needs to get back in the lineup at left tackle, and that the team needs to continue to look at Kyle Kosier, a prospective restricted free agent. Kosier, who has been starting at left tackle, returns to the starting right-guard spot.

    ``They paid a lot of money for Kwame and they want Kwame to do well,'' Smiley said, referring to Harris' four-year package worth $2.5 million. ``I take nothing away from Kwame. He's an awesome player. He should have been playing a lot more than he was playing.''

    Smiley, the *****' second-round pick (No. 46 overall), started the previous nine games at right guard.

    • Against Miami last weekend, the ***** blitzed 31 times in 60 plays. Erickson and defensive coordinator Willy Robinson indicated that there would be no repeat of that against the Rams, because such aggressiveness might leave the cornerbacks exposed against top-flight receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

    The other factor is that Rams quarterback Marc Bulger reads blitzes well.

    Martz said Bulger ``is playing as well as anybody we have ever had here,'' which is saying something because Kurt Warner was the league's MVP in 1999 and 2001.

    Bulger told Bay Area reporters Thursday that ``it is just the difference between being real aggressive and being stupid. I mean, last year I would take every play call so literally and try to hit home runs. This year, if it's not going to be there, I'm willing to take a 3-yard check down.''

    • ***** cornerback Jimmy Williams (broken toe) performed well in practice and is expected to suit up against the Rams. Williams sat out the three previous games but will return in nickel and dime packages Sunday. Dwaine Carpenter and Shawntae Spencer will be the starting cornerbacks.

  • #2
    Re: Faulk will not play

    Hey, if the ***** don't want to use Smiley anymore, I'm sure we'd be happy to take him off their hands.

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    • ramavenger
      Rams balance need /SportsLine.com
      by ramavenger
      Rams balance need, logic in deploying top weapon Faulk
      Sept. 1, 2004
      By Clark Judge
      SportsLine.com Senior Writer
      Tell Clark your opinion!



      Rams: Five things to know
      It's not how much time former All-Pro running back Marshall Faulk might miss this season that will determine where St. Louis finishes. It's how much he plays, with the Rams careful how they use a 31-year-old back sidelined with injuries parts of the past four seasons.


      The Rams drafted Steven Jackson in Round 1 for a very good reason. (AP)
      Here's the problem: Faulk is the Rams' best player, and the more he's on the field, the more problems the Rams pose for opponents. But the more he plays, the greater the risk of injury, and he missed a month-and-a-half last year with a broken hand and sore knee.

      It's a sticky situation. St. Louis needs the guy for the stretch drive, especially with Seattle hot on its trail in the NFC West, but rookie Steven Jackson and Lamar Gordon give it two outstanding young backs who can give Faulk what he needs most -- a break.

      Neither is the equal of Faulk -- few backs are -- but both are good enough they could start for some NFL teams. So how do you use them? More specific, how don't you use Marshall Faulk? I'm not sure, but I know who is.

      Mike Martz, come on down.

      "You have to be careful with him," the Rams' head coach said of his prized back. "There's just so much wear and tear. It's a fine line. He's always felt the pressure of having to stay in, even when he was pretty well banged up. But now he has the luxury (of decent backups), so he doesn't have to go more than a couple plays in a row.

      "He's always had to carry the load, so I think this is a relief to him, to be honest with you."

      Now you and I both know Marshall Faulk will go more than a couple of plays in a row. Faulk not only is a terrific player; he's a consummate professional, determined to stay in the huddle until or unless the contest is out of reach. But blowouts are less frequent each year, with 10 of the Rams' 17 games last season decided by 10 or fewer points.

      Five things you should know
      Martz will leave Faulk's availability up to the man who knows best -- Marshall Faulk. If he wants to stay on the field, Martz will let him.

      But it's a balancing act that bears watching. Players are loath to leave the field, with quarterback Steve Young atypically cursing his head coach when he was pulled in the third quarter of a 40-8 loss in 1994. Young wanted a chance to save the day, but George Seifert wanted to win the season, and there was little chance if Young was hurt.

      So, he spared Young, the team won its next 10 and later captured Super Bowl XXIX.

      "Marshall is smart," Martz said. "He...
      -09-06-2004, 02:42 PM
    • RamWraith
      "Lights-out" Faulk holds the torch high
      by RamWraith
      By Bill Coats
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Saturday, Jan. 08 2005

      SEATTLE - As Rams rookie running back Steven Jackson noted this past week,
      sometime in the not-so-distant future the torch will pass to him from Marshall
      Faulk. But Faulk isn't ready to loosen his grip just yet.

      Faulk didn't put up anywhere near the biggest numbers of his illustrious
      11-year career Saturday in the Rams' gritty 27-20 win over Seattle. But with
      the first-round playoff game tied in the fourth quarter at Qwest Field, it was
      Faulk's light that led the way to the end zone.

      "Marshall's the best," fullback Joey Goodspeed said. "When the game's on the
      line, there's no one I'd rather have in the game than Marshall."

      By his Hall of Fame standards, Faulk's production was modest: 55 rushing yards
      on 13 carries, 12 receiving yards on two catches. But his impact on the Rams'
      first postseason win since the 2001 season was much greater.

      "I've got to tell you, Marshall was lights-out in this game," coach Mike Martz
      said. "Just absolutely lights-out."

      That was most evident on the Rams' final possession, which began at their
      24-yard line with the score 20-20 and 5 minutes 42 seconds remaining in the
      fourth quarter. A 31-yard swing pass from quarterback Marc Bulger to wideout
      Shaun McDonald fueled the march, and a 13-yard gain on a Bulger strike to Kevin
      Curtis was crucial, too.

      Bulger's 17-yard toss to leaping tight end Cam Cleeland in the end zone ended
      the seven-play, 76-yard march and put the Rams up 27-20 with 2:11 to go.

      But it was Faulk's workmanlike production that kept the Seahawks defenders
      honest, allowing Bulger and his targets more room to work. With Jackson
      watching from the sideline, Faulk carried four times - 5 yards up the middle, 3
      on a draw play, 4 off right tackle, 3 off right guard. Nothing spectacular,
      just mistake-free, positive yardage.

      "We needed to get some first downs running the ball and take some time off the
      clock, and we did," Goodspeed said.

      Faulk, who will turn 32 next month, has bristled at times this year at
      suggestions that his best days might be behind him. He refused to talk to
      reporters after Saturday's win.

      Statistically, Faulk's contributions have declined in each of the past five
      seasons, a period in which injuries significantly have limited his playing
      time. He last made it through a full 16-game regular season in 1999.

      Still, he has been the Rams' leading rusher in each of the past six seasons,
      including this one. He played in 14 regular-season games, missing two with a
      bruised knee, and rushed 195 times...
      -01-09-2005, 06:12 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, 11:57 AM
    • RamWraith
      Faulk steps back to keep going
      by RamWraith
      By Larry Weisman, USA TODAY

      ST. LOUIS — Every picture tells a story, and sometimes it's a sad one. There is Emmitt Smith, wearing the red jersey of the Arizona Cardinals. Franco Harris squeezing out a few last carries with the Seattle Seahawks. O.J. Simpson, forlorn in a San Francisco ***** uniform. They forged their reputations in one place and diminished them in another.
      There will be no such portrait of Marshall Faulk. He understands the limits of the body, the stresses of the game and the value of an exit strategy. That is why he no longer is starting for the St. Louis Rams yet is prolonging his career in order to end it with the club.

      At 32, and beginning his 12th NFL season, Faulk will back up Steven Jackson, the Rams' No. 1 pick a year ago. Maybe St. Louis, which plays its third preseason game tonight against the Detroit Lions, would have made this change anyway, but the impetus came from Faulk, who has failed to start in only five of 160 career games with the Rams and the Indianapolis Colts.

      "I think that in a sense you just have to be honest with yourself and what you can and can't do and understand what you want to get out of this game and what you want to do," Faulk says. "And I want to win. My personal accomplishments aren't as important to me; winning is. I think the combination of myself and Steven gives us, as a team, a better opportunity to win. With the work that he's going to put in, he deserves to be the starter."

      Faulk led the Rams in rushing for a sixth consecutive season in 2004, with a modest 774 yards. It was the third consecutive year he finished below 1,000 and his fewest rushing yards since 1995 with the Colts, when he gained 587. Jackson, playing through a knee injury, showed toughness and an ability to break tackles in rushing for 673 yards and averaging 5.0 yards a carry. Faulk suddenly understood what so many players do not, will not or cannot. So he approached coach Mike Martz to talk about himself and Jackson.

      "Marshall said to me privately, 'It's time, I think.' I said, 'Time for what?' And he said, 'He needs to be the featured guy. And whatever role you want me to do, I'd be happy to do it. It's going to be tough, but I think I can really help him and still have some value for this team.' I couldn't believe it," Martz says. "But that's Marshall. So I got to thinking about it more and more, and I said, 'We're going to do this.' "

      The 5-10, 211-pound Faulk ranks 12th on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 11,987 yards, leads all running backs in career receiving yardage (6,894), is second among backs in receptions (773) and is tied for fourth in touchdowns with 135. The Rams are 27-0 since 1999 when he rushes for 100 yards in a game.

      "A long time ago I made a pact with myself that if you can't do it, you can't do it anymore and you have to leave the game. And...
      -08-29-2005, 05:51 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, 07:28 AM
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