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  • For now, Harris is Rams' starter at RB

    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLtoday.com Sports
    12/08/2004


    For the moment, Arlen Harris is the starting Rams running back. Freshly signed
    Aveion Cason is his replacement as the kickoff returner.

    Rookie running back Steven Jackson rested his swollen and bruised knee at
    practice Wednesday. And Marshall Faulk is still resting his bruised knee after
    sitting out Sunday's victory over the *****.

    Coach Mike Martz figures both Jackson and Faulk could be ready to play at
    Carolina on Sunday, but he'll know more later in the week.

    "It's hard to start (Jackson) if he doesn't practice," Martz said. "I think
    he'll be ready on Sunday. I'd like to get him some (practice) Friday and maybe
    a little tomorrow.

    "I believe we'll have Marshall, too."

    Harris started two games at running back last season when Faulk was injured,
    including an 81-yard, three-TD effort at Pittsburgh.

    With Harris getting all the work at running back in practice, Cason will
    prepare to return kicks Sunday. He briefly filled that role for the Rams back
    in 2001 before getting released.

    After stints with the Chiefs, Lions, Cowboys and Cardinals, Cason is getting
    another look in St. Louis. He will also provide depth at running back should
    Faulk or Jackson fail to progress.

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  • RamWraith
    Rams will start Harris at running back
    by RamWraith
    BY BILL COATS
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Dec. 10 2004

    Arlen Harris is rested, ready and rarin' to go. "They call me 'fresh legs,'"
    Harris said, laughing. "I'll be able to go out there and take some punishment."

    Rookie Steven Jackson and veteran Marshall Faulk are nursing bruised knees and
    will be unable to carry a full load Sunday. So coach Mike Martz said Friday
    that Harris will be in the lineup at running back when the Rams (6-6) meet the
    Carolina Panthers (5-7) at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte in a contest
    with heavy playoff implications in the NFC.

    "Arlen will start, and Marshall's ready to go, I think," Martz said. "And
    we'll just see where Steven is on Sunday."

    Jackson, the team's first-round draft pick, started for a gimpy Faulk last
    Sunday and ran for 119 yards on 26 carries in a 16-6 victory over San
    Francisco. Jackson was hurt on his last series, and the knee swelled
    considerably and needed to be drained. Jackson didn't practice all week.

    "We're going to get him back in short order," Martz assured. "If he misses
    this one, I'm sure he'll be back the following week. But I don't know that he
    misses this one. We just have been very, very cautious with him."

    Harris, a second-year pro, has just one carry this year -- a 2-yard jaunt
    against the *****. Still, that brief appearance was helpful, he said. "Just
    being able to touch the ball last week gave me confidence," Harris said. "This
    week, I'll be more comfortable."

    The 5-10, 212-pound Harris made the team last year as an undrafted rookie who
    hadn't played as a college senior because of an eligibility glitch. He was
    productive in two starts, rushing for 85 yards against Green Bay and 81 against
    Pittsburgh in relief of the injured Faulk and Lamar Gordon, who earlier this
    season was traded to Miami.

    "They told me to go about this week like I'm starting, and now that I know I'm
    definitely starting, it's not a problem," said Harris, 24. "I'm definitely
    excited to get an opportunity to run the ball. Being a rookie last year, I was
    a little bit nervous. But now I have a year under my belt, and I feel
    comfortable with the offense. . . .

    "It's a great opportunity. I'll just go out there and do my best, and
    hopefully we don't skip a beat."

    Martz expects that to be the case. "I'm not worried about Arlen at all," he
    said. "He's a terrific runner. He's hard to knock off his feet. He's real
    patient. His run reads are really outstanding. He's a much better player than
    he was a year ago, and he played well...
    -12-11-2004, 08:10 AM
  • 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
    The Rams' Harris enjoyed his time in the spotlight
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Nov. 28 2004

    The capricious nature of life in the NFL is hitting home for the Rams' Arlen
    Harris. A year ago as a rookie, he was a key contributor in a 34-24 victory
    over the Packers, rushing for 85 yards and his first pro touchdown.

    But unless catastrophe suddenly strikes the backfield, Harris' only chance to
    touch the ball Monday night in Green Bay will be lugging back kickoffs. That's
    his primary duty - he's averaged 20.6 yards on 33 returns - now that he's the
    Rams' third-team running back.

    "That's the way the NFL is," said Harris, 5 feet 10 and 212 pounds. "But at the
    same time, you've still got to be prepared. Like last year, I wouldn't have
    thought I'd have that much playing time, with Marshall Faulk and Lamar
    (Gordon). But things happened."

    When the Packers arrived at the Edward Jones Dome on Oct. 19, 2003, Faulk was
    out with hand and knee injuries. Gordon went down early in the first quarter
    with a sprained ankle, and Harris was the next option.

    He started the following two games before Faulk returned.

    For an undrafted rookie who sat out his senior season at Hofstra and came to
    camp as a long shot to make the roster, Harris had came a long way in a short
    time.

    He called the Green Bay game "the start of it all. It gave me a lot of
    confidence. I got a chance to run the ball a whole lot, with Marshall and Lamar
    down. I'll always remember that game."

    Harris got only two carries over the last half of the schedule. And when the
    Rams took Oregon State running back Steven Jackson in the first-round (No. 24
    overall) of the draft last April, Harris knew that he was headed back for the
    bottom of the depth chart. He's yet to line up in the backfield this year.

    "It's just common sense," he said. "(Jackson) was the first back taken, and
    that's just the way the chips fell. You want more of it, but it's not hard to
    accept at all. ... So I just have to be ready and do my best on special teams."

    All the while biding his time until his next chance comes.

    "Everybody has to have that mentality; no one's excluded from getting their
    spot taken or getting hurt," he said. "A lot of people have to wait five, six
    years for their opportunity. I just have to make sure I'm ready."
    -11-28-2004, 05:41 AM
  • 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
    Faulk Leads Young RBs
    by RamWraith
    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Marshall Faulk has never been a vocal guy. But, then, he has never had to be. One look at his numbers or any of his game film, and even the casual observer can see that everything he does on the field speaks for itself.

    What do the numbers say? Well, aside from the staggering size of most of them, they don’t simply speak, but scream one thing: Hall of Fame. It’s not debatable whether Faulk is one of the game’s all-time greats; he has racked up 11,213 rushing yards, 6,274 receiving yards and 131 total touchdowns.

    With the shrill pitch those numbers express, it might be easy for Faulk to get complacent and continue the trend. Complacency, though, has never been in Faulk’s dictionary and it isn’t being added this season. The former league MVP and Pro Bowler has accomplished most everything a player can accomplish in the NFL.

    The bad news for the rest of the league is that Faulk appears healthy for the first time in awhile. Coach Mike Martz said he sometimes has to hold back his enthusiasm about Faulk. “He looks like the Marshall of old out here,” Martz said. "He feels so good and when he’s like that we try not to put a damper on it, but we also just want him to be cautious.”

    A nagging knee injury and a hand injury have caused Faulk to miss time in recent years, but he continues to play, not because he wants to prove his doubters wrong, but solely because he loves the game.

    Faulk has never asked himself what more he can accomplish, but he has a few ideas of what he wants to improve on. Faulk is one of the Rams’ captains this season. Normally, Faulk leads by example and it isn’t hard for him because of his success. Now, with three talented young backs angling to be his heir apparent, Faulk is attempting to take a more vocal role, something he has never done. “When you get in the heat of the battle, there are certain things that only another player can help you with,” Faulk said. “If I do something that’s kind of different, I want them to know what my thoughts were and what I was thinking and try to get them on the same page. “I’m just trying to find a way to become a better leader.”

    While Faulk has spent most of his training camp on the sidelines, ensuring his health for the regular season, he has also provided an ear for his younger counterparts to turn to for advice. Faulk’s wisdom is readily available to Lamar Gordon, Arlen Harris and rookie Steven Jackson. With Faulk and running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery — a former Pro Bowl running back for the Philadelphia Eagles — providing the knowledge, the trio of backups has two accomplished runners leading the way.

    Jackson could have easily come to training camp with ideas of displacing Faulk. After all, Jackson was the first running back taken in April’s Draft and there was rampant speculation about the...
    -08-19-2004, 11:33 AM
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