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  • Jackson, Faulk both are likely to play Sunday

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    12/16/2004


    It appears that the Rams will be at full strength at running back Sunday when they play the Arizona Cardinals at Sun Devil Stadium.

    "Steven (Jackson) is still just a little tentative, but there's no reason why he shouldn't be ready to go," coach Mike Martz said Thursday. "Both he and Marshall (Faulk) will be" on the 45-man active roster for the 3:05 p.m. kickoff.

    Faulk has missed two games with a bruised left knee, and Jackson sat out Sunday at Carolina with the same injury, but to his right knee. Jackson, the team's first-round draft choice this year, had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee after his senior season at Oregon State.

    Faulk and Jackson shared first-team duties at practice Wednesday and Thursday. Arlen Harris, who rushed for 61 yards on 19 carries in the 20-7 loss to the Panthers, was back with the No. 3 unit and likely to return to kickoff-return duties.

    Jackson was injured on his final series Dec. 5 against San Francisco, when he ran for 119 yards on 26 carries. He said watching from the sideline Sunday was difficult.

    "As a competitor, you want to be out there," he said. "And coming off a big game especially, I really felt I could help my team against Carolina. It was pretty tough, especially seeing the offense, the way it was kind of going a little sour."

    Fluid was drained from Jackson's knee twice last week, but he said it felt "pretty good" Thursday in the wake of Wednesday's workout at Rams Park.

    "It didn't swell up this morning, but I have a couple of more practices this week to see how it reacts," Jackson said. "I've got to prepare myself. You can't just go out there cold and expect to play on Sunday. You've got to get back into the flow of things at practice."

    Faulk, who has had recurring knee problems in the past few seasons, had improved so much that he was removed from the team's injury report Thursday. He was listed as probable Wednesday.

    Bulger throws again, still has soreness

    Quarterback Marc Bulger was a little sore after testing his bruised right (throwing) shoulder with some light tossing Wednesday, Martz said. Bulger threw again briefly Thursday during individual drills, while Chris Chandler worked with the first unit.

    "We haven't really pressed it," Martz said. "You don't want to put him backwards. It's a pain issue; it's not the joint structure or anything like that. It's just how sore it is. He's fighting through it."

    Bulger was injured in the first quarter against the *****. Chandler, 39, replaced him, and the Rams rolled up a 16-6 victory. But as the starter Sunday, Chandler threw six interceptions against the Panthers.

    Martz hasn't ruled out Bulger for the Arizona game. "We'll just see," Martz said. Bulger was unavailable to reporters Thursday.


    Aeneas Williams moves to scout team

    Safety Aeneas Williams joined the scout team Thursday, although Martz reiterated that the 14-year veteran would be sidelined for "a few weeks. They're being pretty aggressive with the treatment on him, and we'll just see how he responds."

    Williams, 36, has developed what Martz termed a "very severe arthritic condition in his neck." For now he'll remain on the roster, even though only three regular-season games remain.

    "He's got to keep his legs in shape; he just can't hit anybody," Martz said. "We want to keep him in the flow and moving around, and he can serve us well as the scout team free safety. In a few weeks we'll see how he is pain-wise."


    Arizona promotes St. Louisan to roster


    Just in time for a game against his hometown Rams, the Arizona Cardinals have promoted linebacker Isaac Keys from their practice squad to the active roster. Keys, 26, is a St. Louis native who played at Hazelwood Central.

    He was a three-year starter at Morehouse College in Atlanta, registering 25 sacks in his last two seasons there. Keys (6-3, 248) has had past NFL stints with the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, but has yet to play in an NFL regular-season game.

    Holt is Rams pick for NFL man of year


    Rams wide receiver Torry Holt and four former Rams are among the 32 finalists, one from each team, for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes community service as well as on-the-field performance.

    The ex-Rams are quarterbacks Kurt Warner (Giants) and Trent Green (Chiefs), tight end Roland Williams (Raiders) and defensive tackle Kevin Carter (Titans).


    Linebaker is signed to practice squad

    Linebacker Tony Newson has been re-signed to the practice squad, taking the spot left open when rookie safety Jason Shivers was claimed by Chicago on Monday. When Newson was released Dec. 7, he was told that he'd be back soon.

    "Coach Martz said they expected it to be about two weeks, and I came back a week earlier," Newson said. "You never know. You've just got to learn how to deal with it. Whatever happens, happens. I just hung around town and worked out."

    Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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  • RamWraith
    Quarterback Situation Uncertain for Sunday
    by RamWraith
    Quarterback Situation Uncertain for Sunday
    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Quarterback Marc Bulger made his return to the practice field on Wednesday. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will return to the playing field on Sunday, but it is a sign of progress.

    Bulger, who missed last week’s game against Carolina with a right shoulder sprain, threw the ball in warm-ups and about another 12 in some short team drills. He did not have as much zip on his throws as normal, but that was mostly because he was doing his best to ease back into it, according to coach Mike Martz.

    “He threw the ball much better today than I predicted,” Martz said. “He didn’t turn it loose. He feels like he could, but he didn’t attempt to. We’ll just let it go until Friday and see where is on Friday.”

    Bulger is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Arizona. In the meantime, it appears that veteran Chris Chandler will get the start for the second consecutive week. Chandler threw six interceptions in the worst outing of his career against the Panthers last week.

    Chandler was inconsolable after the game, taking all of the blame for the 20-7 loss. He still appears to be trying to get over the difficult loss. Martz attempted to help Chandler out Monday, claiming that he asked Chandler to do too much, but Chandler insists that his coach is just attempting to share in the blame.

    “Mike’s just trying to be a nice guy,” Chandler said. “It was just a bad thing on my part. I’ve never had a day like that. I’m still trying to sort it out.”

    The sooner the better for Chandler. Martz did not really consider pulling Chandler in last week’s game, mostly because rookie backup Jeff Smoker isn’t quite ready to step in and play. This week, though, Jamie Martin will likely be ready to play if needed and Martz might have a quicker hook if things go wrong.

    Bulger seemed to be solid in practice Wednesday and will probably take more repetitions as the week goes on. Martz said that most of Bulger’s pain and problems comes from his follow through and not his actual throwing motion. It could come down to a gametime decision this week if Bulger continues to perform and show that he can make all of the throws needed in practice.

    Martz said he would wait as long as he has to to make a decision on Bulger.

    “If there’s any doubt, we will keep him out,” Martz said. “I think Sunday morning is pretty good (in determining when he will play). We’ll get him out in the parking lot and pitch it around a little bit and we’ll roll. I would not hesitate one minute if on Friday he is ready to go.”

    More than likely, Bulger will not be ready to go Sunday. Regardless of who gets the start, any quarterback on the active roster will need to be ready just in case.

    RUNNING BACKS BACK: Steven...
    -12-16-2004, 05:18 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, 04:30 AM
  • RamWraith
    Bulger practices, but Chandler likely to start
    by RamWraith
    By Chris Ruddick, NFL Analyst

    (Sports Network) - St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger returned to the practice field on Wednesday, but it still remains a long shot that he will be under center when his team heads to the desert on Sunday to face the Arizona Cardinals at Sun Devil Stadium.

    Bulger, who missed last week’s loss to Carolina with a right shoulder sprain, threw the ball in warm-ups and about another 12 in some short team drills.

    "He threw the ball much better today than I predicted," Martz said. "He didn’t turn it loose. He feels like he could, but he didn’t attempt to. We’ll just let it go until Friday and see where is on Friday."

    Chris Chandler, who was brutal in throwing six interceptions in the loss to the Panthers, worked with the first unit, and remains the likely starter on Sunday, despite his miserable performance.

    "It was just a bad thing on my part," said Chandler. "I’ve never had a day like that. I’m still trying to sort it out."

    Martz, though, might be more inclined to bench Chandler this week if the veteran QB struggles again. Last week Martz said it was not even a consideration, as rookie backup Jeff Smoker has yet to play a game this season. This week Jamie Martin, who was with the Rams in 1996 and from 2001-02, will be the team's backup.

    Martz, though said he would wait as long as he has to make a decision on Bulger.

    "If there’s any doubt, we will keep him out," Martz said. "I think Sunday morning is pretty good (in determining when he will play). We’ll get him out in the parking lot and pitch it around a little bit and we’ll roll. I would not hesitate one minute if on Friday he is ready to go."

    In other injury news running backs Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk returned to practice Wednesday and both could play this week.

    Faulk has not played since November 29 against Buffalo, while Jackson missed last week's game with a bruised knee one week after making his first career start.

    "I think we might be at full strength at running back," Martz said.

    The same, though, cannot be said about veteran safety Aeneas Williams, whose season could be over after suffering stinger in his neck in Sunday's loss.

    "Aeneas is probably done for awhile," Martz said.

    The Rams gave up control of the division last Sunday with the 20-7 setback.

    The St. Louis loss, coupled with a Seattle win over Minnesota, placed the Seahawks back atop the NFC West. The defeat also knocked the Rams out of the final wild card spot, as the similarly 6-7 Panthers earned that position by virtue of its head-to-head victory over St. Louis.

    In addition to Carolina, six 5-8 teams will be looking to gain ground on the Rams this Sunday. ...
    -12-16-2004, 01:36 PM
  • RamWraith
    Chandler Will Start
    by RamWraith
    Friday, December 17, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Last week the Rams faced the unenviable task of beating Carolina on the road without quarterback Marc Bulger.

    This week, only the opponent is likely to change. Bulger threw lightly on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, providing a glimmer of hope to St. Louis that he might be able to play against Arizona on Sunday.

    Coach Mike Martz said earlier in the week he would like to wait until Friday to make any determination about the quarterback situation. After Friday’s practice, it was clear what is most likely to happen.

    Bulger did not take any repetitions and said he is unlikely to have much of a chance to play or even dress Sunday. He said he had hoped to have a chance to play, but it doesn’t appear that he will.

    “It didn’t get much better the past few days,” Bulger said. “I would prefer not to (play without practicing). You don’t want to, but if you have to, guys have done it.”

    Bulger will likely return to the team against Philadelphia on Dec. 27. That was the original target date of his return and appears the most likely time. That leaves veteran Chris Chandler as the team’s starting quarterback for the second consecutive week.

    “We’ve got Chris ready to go,” Martz said. “I don’t think that we’ll have Marc.”

    The move goes as a vote of confidence in Chandler, who Martz and the Rams hope will improve. In reality, he couldn’t get much worse as he threw six interceptions against the Panthers.

    Chandler did not come out of that game, but Martz might have a quick hook if Chandler struggles again.

    Last week, rookie Jeff Smoker was the backup, but it appears that Jamie Martin, who was signed last week, will be the No. 2 man against the Cardinals.

    Martin, of course, spent most of his career with the Rams and was brought back because of his knowledge of the system. Martin said he is ready to go if needed.

    “That was kind of the best-case scenario,” Martin said. “If I could have been back in a week, that would have been a bonus, I guess. Every day I have been here, it kind of gets me back to where I was when I got back. I feel comfortable now, whereas last week I needed a couple more days.”

    O-LINE RESHUFFLES: Quarterback isn’t the only position that is dealing with injuries. Right guard Adam Timmerman and left guard Tom Nütten missed time in practice this week. Timmerman will play against Arizona, but Nütten will not get the start.

    In Nütten’s place, rookie Larry Turner will get the nod. Turner has had a busy week, alternating between first-team guard and practice squad center, but his hard work is about to pay off in the form of his first start.

    If Turner struggles or if Martz decides to go with a rotation at left guard, Darnell Alford will step in. Alford has been...
    -12-18-2004, 06:33 AM
  • RamWraith
    Despite injury concerns, Rams back in driver's seat in NFC West
    by RamWraith
    By Chris Ruddick, NFL Analyst

    (Sports Network) - Thanks to a monumental collapse by the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football, the St. Louis Rams are back atop the standings of the NFC West. The Rams, at 6-6, are actually tied with the Seahawks, but they hold the tiebreaker over them by virtue of their two regular season wins against them.

    However, St. Louis did get some bad news on Monday when it was learned that starting quarterback Marc Bulger, who left this past Sunday's win over San Francisco with a sprained right shoulder, will miss this week's contest against the Carolina Panthers.

    Bulger has a bone bruise on his throwing shoulder at the top of his collarbone. The good news, though, is that it is not a shoulder separation.

    "The AC (joint) separations that are so typical for quarterbacks was not there," Martz said. "There is a little bit of swelling in the joint, but there's no damage evidently to the ligaments that hold the joint together."

    So it will be 16-year veteran Chris Chandler, who will be making his 151st career start, under center this week for the Rams.

    "I am excited about the potential of what he (Chandler) can do for us this week," Rams head coach Mike Martz said. "He'll be our starter at quarterback this week."

    Chandler, who played for the Rams while they were located in Los Angeles, filled in admirably for Bulger on Sunday and completed 18-of-27 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown in his team's 16-6 win.

    "You only get one chance to play this game," said Chandler, who has also spent time with Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. "When it's over, it's over. I'm getting close to that time so every time I'm out there I try to really have fun and keep the guys having fun."

    Also running back Steven Jackson could miss the game this week with a bruised right knee.

    "I don't know if he'll be available this week or not," Martz said. "I suppose he will be, but who knows?"

    Jackson was injured on the last of his 26 carries on Sunday. He was replaced for the final two offensive plays by Arlen Harris, who would get the start this Sunday if Jackson or Marshall Faulk are both unavailable.

    Faulk is expected to sit out practice for most of the week and Martz said his status for this week's tilt will be updated later in the week.

    "It's all based on Marshall, on his health and how he feels and how he's going," said Martz. "When he's healthy, he's feeling good, there's no reason to diminish what he does."

    The Rams got back to .500 on Sunday, as Jackson rushed for 119 yards and Jeff Wilkins booted three field goals to lead the way.

    "I knew early on that I was getting the start and...
    -12-08-2004, 05:12 AM
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