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  • Jackson Ready for Action

    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 even more memorable for Rams’ fans, though, was the 8-yard run in the second quarter in which San Francisco cornerback Mike Rumph attempted to arm tackle him. Jackson said Thursday he doesn’t remember that play, but chances are Rumph does. Rumph broke his arm on the play and is out for the season.

    All told, Jackson has 377 yards rushing this season with a pair of touchdowns. He leads the team with 5.1 yards per carry.

    Martz said Jackson is by no means a finished product, but he is ready to take on the extra work.

    "He still has a ways to go just in terms of playing the game, but his knowledge of what we do is fine," Martz said.
    Although Faulk is unlikely to play Sunday, it doesn’t mean he can be completely ruled out. It is a safe bet, though, that if he does play his snaps will be limited. In the meantime, Faulk has been instrumental in building confidence in Jackson and teaching him some of the little things about football.

    Martz said the recent mix of Jackson and Faulk is good for Faulk and could serve him well to extend his time in the league.

    "He knows," Martz said. "He's very aware of his body, and he's aware of Steven's ability and he understands how in order to make it through the season in one piece, this is a good setup. It ultimately could help him prolong his career."
    In the meantime, there is plenty of excitement surrounding Jackson. Receiver Torry Holt, for one, is eager to see the former Beaver running.

    “He’ll be excited and enthused,” Holt said. “So, he’ll be running like a maniac, which will be good for us.”

    As Faulk’s career begins to wind down, Jackson’s is only beginning and his biggest test comes Sunday.

    GRIZZ SET TO GO: Martz was unsure about the status of his defensive tackle position heading to this weekend, but there are plenty of indications that Jimmy Kennedy will get a chance to make his first NFL start.

    Brian Howard, who started at tackle against Green Bay, said Thursday he thought Kennedy would get the nod against the *****. Kennedy was unsure of his status for the weekend, but said he would be ready to go either way.

    “They had me up there, but since I came back we have had a weird rotation,” Kennedy said. “One day I am with the ones, the next day I am with the threes. It’s just practice right now.”

    The second-year player out of Penn State missed most of training camp when he broke his right foot on Aug. 5. He returned to action on Nov. 7 against New England. In that game, he made three tackles and followed that with three more against Seattle the following week.

    Kennedy had what was probably his best game as a pro last week against Green Bay, making five tackles and continuing to improve from week to week. It is that kind of improvement every week that has put him in position to make his first start.

    Kennedy said he won’t know that he is starting for sure until he gets word from above, though.
    “I’m not really thinking about it,” Kennedy said. “I’m just going out there trying to practice, get better every day and whatever happens, happens.”

    INJURY REPORT: There were no changes to the injury report Friday. Receiver Isaac Bruce (wrist), safety Adam Archuleta (back) and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna (knee) are probable.

    Faulk and safety Aeneas Williams (neck) are questionable. Cornerback DeJuan Groce (knee) is doubtful and guard Chris Dishman (knee) is out.

    Faulk, Bruce, Dishman and Groce did not practice Friday.

Related Topics

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  • RamWraith
    Jackson and Faulk may be too banged up to play
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Wednesday, Dec. 08 2004

    Rams running back Marshall Faulk practiced on Wednesday. Steven Jackson didn't.
    And Arlen Harris got plenty of work with the starters.

    But as to who will start at running back, and how much each of them will play
    Sunday against Carolina, well, that remains very much up in the air.

    Despite giving an extremely qualified nod in Harris' direction as his probable
    starter, coach Mike Martz said Wednesday that Faulk and Jackson and their
    bruised knees will be available to play against the Panthers.

    "Steven will be ready to go," Martz said. "So will Marshall."

    Jackson suffered his injury Sunday against San Francisco en route to a 119-yard
    rushing day. There is no structural damage or ligament problems, Martz said.
    But the knee swelled up overnight Sunday. As a result, excess fluid had to be
    drained from the knee. Jackson watched Wednesday practice in sweats.

    "He feels a whole lot better," Martz said. "I'd like to give him some reps here
    during the week. Hopefully on Friday, and maybe a little bit (today). But we'll
    just see. ... We're going to do the right thing by him physically."

    Reading between the lines, it seems that Martz would like to rest Faulk's knee
    one more week if possible. But while Jackson was watching, Faulk was getting
    some work with the first unit Wednesday in practice.

    "I wish he didn't" practice, Martz said. "Especially this time of week. I'd
    rather he do a little more work (Thursday), and then back off on Friday."

    Jackson isn't sure when he injured his knee against the *****. But one thing
    came through loud and clear Wednesday: He's no fan of the artificial surface at
    the Edward Jones Dome.

    "That surface there is unforgiving," Jackson said. "You're basically taking two
    hits on the play. Not only are you getting hit by the defender, but you're
    taking quite a blow hitting that turf. These next two weeks, I'm happy we're on
    grass."

    Following the Carolina game, the Rams play Dec. 19 at Arizona.

    Despite being in some discomfort Wednesday, Jackson sounded as if there was no
    doubt about his playing status against the Panthers. "It's all right," he said.
    "I'll be there."

    Jackson said he probably has spent more time in the training room getting
    treatment this week than the rest of the season combined. Jackson was listed as
    questionable, with Faulk probable, on the Rams' first official injury report of
    the week.

    With Faulk hurting and the season at a critical stage, Jackson feels...
    -12-09-2004, 05:30 AM
  • RamWraith
    Camp tour: Rams' tough Jackson takes torch from aging Faulk
    by RamWraith
    Aug. 27, 2005
    By Pete Prisco
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer



    ST. LOUIS -- For all the yardage and points the St. Louis Rams have put up during the Mike Martz era of offensive football, they've always been viewed as one of the softer teams in the league, a pretty point-machine that didn't have the toughness to pound the ball when it needed to do so.
    When you finish a season ranked 29th in the league in rushing, which the Rams did in 2004, that's a hard reputation to shake.

    That is about to change.

    Martz still prefers the pass -- and for that he is to be saluted -- but there are 231 reasons why he's about to lean more about the power running game than at any time in his tenure with the team. That number 231 is the weight for starting running back Steven Jackson, who takes over in that role from veteran Marshall Faulk.

    Faulk is on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he will get there with an amazing cutting ability and speed that allowed him to turn what should have been a 12-yard run into a 70-yard touchdown.

    Jackson is all about power, which is something the Rams haven't had in their backfield since the Jerome Bettis days.

    Finesse is about to go bye-bye.

    "He brings the power," Rams receiver Torry Holt said. "He's a hard, tough back. He's like Eddie George with more speed and burst. He brings another air of toughness to our side of the ball."

    Looking at Jackson, it's clear he's going to be a heck of a tough runner to tackle for opposing defenses. At 6-2, he is thick and looks even bigger than his listed height and weight. Thinking of him coming at you full speed isn't a soothing thought.

    St. Louis Rams
    Out of Nowhere Man
    DB Corey Ivey
    When the Rams brought Corey Ivey into camp, they weren't too sure he'd make their team. As it turns out, he might be their nickel back. He has made a lot of plays in camp, and has been one of the pleasant surprises. At 5-8, he's spent six years in the league without much fanfare, playing for New England and Tampa Bay. He doesn't have a career interception, but that may change in 2005.

    As a rookie last season, he showed the toughness to run inside, but he also showed the burst to rip off the long runs. Martz stuck with Faulk as his starter -- some said it was because he has a soft spot in his heart when it comes to Faulk -- but eventually Jackson became the starter before knee problems limited him late in the season.

    Martz officially named him the starter in the spring -- Jackson learned about it while watching television from his home in Las Vegas -- but Jackson said the transition was made last season.

    "The transition took place long before you guys knew it," Jackson said. "Look at the game last year. I was playing...
    -08-27-2005, 09:14 PM
  • RamsFan16
    Camp tour: Rams' tough Jackson takes torch from aging Faulk
    by RamsFan16
    Camp tour: Rams' tough Jackson takes torch from aging Faulk


    Pete Prisco Aug. 27, 2005
    By Pete Prisco
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
    Tell Pete your opinion!




    Rams: Five things to know

    ST. LOUIS -- For all the yardage and points the St. Louis Rams have put up during the Mike Martz era of offensive football, they've always been viewed as one of the softer teams in the league, a pretty point-machine that didn't have the toughness to pound the ball when it needed to do so.

    When you finish a season ranked 29th in the league in rushing, which the Rams did in 2004, that's a hard reputation to shake.

    Steven Jackson rushed for 673 yards on just 134 attempts last season. (Getty Images)
    Steven Jackson rushed for 673 yards on just 134 attempts last season. (Getty Images)
    That is about to change.

    Martz still prefers the pass -- and for that he is to be saluted -- but there are 231 reasons why he's about to lean more about the power running game than at any time in his tenure with the team. That number 231 is the weight for starting running back Steven Jackson, who takes over in that role from veteran Marshall Faulk.

    Faulk is on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he will get there with an amazing cutting ability and speed that allowed him to turn what should have been a 12-yard run into a 70-yard touchdown.

    Jackson is all about power, which is something the Rams haven't had in their backfield since the Jerome Bettis days.

    Finesse is about to go bye-bye.

    "He brings the power," Rams receiver Torry Holt said. "He's a hard, tough back. He's like Eddie George with more speed and burst. He brings another air of toughness to our side of the ball."

    Looking at Jackson, it's clear he's going to be a heck of a tough runner to tackle for opposing defenses. At 6-2, he is thick and looks even bigger than his listed height and weight. Thinking of him coming at you full speed isn't a soothing thought.
    St. Louis Rams
    Out of Nowhere Man
    DB Corey Ivy
    When the Rams brought Corey Ivy into camp, they weren't too sure he'd make their team. As it turns out, he might be their nickel back. He has made a lot of plays in camp, and has been one of the pleasant surprises. At 5-8, he's spent six years in the league without much fanfare, playing for New England and Tampa Bay. He doesn't have a career interception, but that may change in 2005.
    Five things you should know

    As a rookie last season, he showed the toughness to run inside, but he also showed the burst to rip off the long runs. Martz stuck with Faulk as his starter -- some said it was because he has a soft spot in his heart when it comes to Faulk -- but eventually Jackson became the starter before knee problems...
    -09-05-2005, 04:24 PM
  • RamWraith
    Faulk will not play
    by RamWraith
    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...
    -12-03-2004, 01:41 PM
  • RamWraith
    Trev Faulk makes impact /Coady to start
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    10/06/2004

    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, 06:46 AM
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