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  • Second Act

    Second Act


    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    08/28/2005


    While the others sit in what are best described as school desks, Marshall Faulk has a comfortable, padded chair in the running backs' meeting room. A pillow is placed strategically where the chair back meets the seat.

    It's a concession to Faulk's longevity, productivity and stature as perhaps the best all-purpose back in NFL history.

    Everything else Faulk has ceded to the youngster - quietly, gracefully and without envy. The transition from Faulk to Steven Jackson in the Rams' backfield could be nasty. But so far, it's been seamless.




    "The thing that I can truly say about 28 (Faulk), there's not a person that's ever come in this room that he hasn't gotten along with," running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery said, nodding in the direction of Faulk's vacant chair. "He never looked upon himself as better or greater than anybody that took a seat in this room. He constantly encouraged them to be good. And I constantly encouraged those guys to be like him. ... to reach the heights that he has reached in his NFL career."


    Few have reached such heights. As he enters his 12th pro season, Faulk ranks fourth in NFL history in touchdowns (135), fourth in yards from scrimmage (18,545), 12th in rushing yards (11,987) and 19th in receptions (723).

    With just 134 rushing yards this season, Faulk will move ahead of Franco Harris into 10th place on the NFL's career rushing list. He has been chosen for seven Pro Bowls, played in two Super Bowls and been league MVP.

    But at age 32, his knees aren't getting healthier. His rushing totals and yards per catch have declined in each of the past three seasons. So as Faulk enters the twilight of his career, he seems determined to leave the game with his head held high, instead of being dragged out kicking and screaming.

    For starters, he renegotiated his contract in February. It wasn't one of those cosmetic renegotiations, where money is shuffled to lessen that year's cap hit, but the overall dollars remain the same. It was a pay cut: from $6 million to $4 million in 2005, and from $6 million to $2 million in 2006. As a result, the Rams will save $3.5 million in cap room in both 2005 and 2006.

    "You've just got to be honest with yourself, and decide where you're at and where you want to be," Faulk said. "I probably can't do all the things that I used to be able to do, just because it's Father Time. It's inevitable. It happens.

    "I wanted to stay here. Both sides came up with an agreement, something both of us could live with. And that was it. . . . With what we're trying to get accomplished, I'd not only be cheating myself, but I'd be cheating my teammates if I continued to make the money that I was making and wasn't producing or putting out to the level of payment that I was receiving. That's just me."

    As for the change on the depth chart, he has all but embraced the elevation of Jackson.

    "I could make it harder. But why?" Faulk said. "The things that I want to do, the things that I want out of the game, and how I feel like I can help this team, are in the role that I see it in right now."

    And what is that role?

    "I don't want to say anything, or put anything out there as to what that role is going to be," Faulk said. "I'll let the coaches define that as far as how much I'll play, exactly when I'm going to play, and stuff like that. My job is to be prepared that when they look around and say, 'Go ahead, and get in there,' that I'm ready to go."

    For his part, coach Mike Martz says he's still working that all out in his head.

    "We've thought about it a little already," Martz said. "As the season goes on, that stuff kind of gets itself defined by how (opponents) play defense, and what they're doing. It's not hard to put them both in the game."

    Occasionally, they will share time. Occasionally, they will line up in the same backfield. Faulk may have to start some games if Jackson is injured. But basically, Faulk will be a backup for the first time in his career. Jackson's backup.

    "Hopefully, through his eyes, the two of us can work together," Faulk said. "Because in my eyes, we can. As a young player, that's the hardest thing. And it'll be a challenge for him.

    "When I was young, it was hard for me - working with someone. I had to learn it and understand it, because you need help in this game. It's been a long time since one back's been able to do it all by himself.

    "And when you are that one back, and you do it by yourself, it's short-lived. You run into complications with injuries or whatever if you watch the guys that have done it - like myself when it was just me playing.

    "I would've loved to have had some help, to sometimes get me off the field, to maybe take a couple plays off, take a series off, and then go back in fresh. So if in his eyes we can work together, it will only prolong and help his career."

    As for Faulk, he will go from 60 to 70 offensive plays when he was the starter, to maybe 15 to 20 as Jackson's backup.

    "I have to make the most of those plays," Faulk said. "Now, that's the challenge for me. I've always been in the flow of the game, in the mix of the game. So for me to just be on the sideline, semi-warm, to go in there and be ready to produce instantly, I need to almost be better than what I was."

    Faulk is as well-prepared for a season as he's been in quite some time. He looks quicker and lighter than recent training camps. For the first time in several offseasons, he didn't have knee surgery, and that allowed him to do more training and conditioning.

    "He's got that burst back, he really does," Martz said. "When he sees it, he can hit it and get it. The biggest issue for Marshall at his age right now is you can put him in throughout the game in spurts, and he's going to be fresh and be the Marshall that we know. If you try to play him throughout the game, he's going to wear down, and he'll wear down in the season."

    That's not what the Rams want. Even if it's in small doses, they would rather see flashes of the Faulk who set the league on its ear with four consecutive seasons of 2,000-plus yards rushing and receiving from 1998 to 2001. That's a league record, the last three seasons of which came as the centerpiece of the Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis.

    According to Montgomery, there have been times this summer when Faulk does things "that look like the Marshall of '99. . . . He's kind of got that eye of the tiger again. He wants to really get this season off in a fast, furious way. He wants to go out strong."

    So although it's now Jackson's backfield, it would be a mistake to write off Faulk in 2005.

    Montgomery goes so far as to say, "We will see Marshall more than people realize."

    Martz adds: "Marshall's going to have a terrific impact on what we do offensively, that's for sure. When 28 goes in the game, the defense still knows that you've got to account for that guy."

    As for those who might overlook Faulk this season?

    "Do it," Faulk says, laughing, but with a touch of defiance in his voice. "It's fine."

    Reporter Jim Thomas
    E-mail: [email protected]


    Phone: 314-340-8197

    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Second Act

    There is no one that has more class in the NFL or in real life than Marshal. He takes less money to play the next 2 years because his role may be diminished. Keep your T O and all the other me me guys. Give me a team of Faulks any day. Thanks Marshal you are:bow: :up: the BEST.
    Last edited by HoustonRam; -08-28-2005, 06:02 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Second Act

      I agree 100% with you, Houston. Look up "class act" in the dictionary, and Marshall's picture should be there. I wish him the best this year and next, and hope he retires with no further injuries, but rather a nice feather in his cap of unbelievable performances.
      I still think he should be a coach or advisor or something to the Rams when he does retire. The lessons in life, humility, and football he could teach would make him invaluable to us even if he never touched a football again.
      temp_4394_1467243487543_20
      RAMS!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Second Act

        Yup, Marshall is a quality class act. I am glad to have him on the team. I hope Jackson shows him the respect that he has earned.
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Second Act

          I just can't wait to see Faulk and Jackson in the same backfield, Faulk still has a major role to play and yes 'he' is a class act..... and role model


          steve:clanram:
          "The breakfast Club":helmet:

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Second Act

            The Marshall. :football:

            What a true privilege it is, for Steven Jackson, to be the Rams starting RB and have MF as the co-pilot of their machine.

            :angryram: Best wishes to the Rams 2005 running game, including OL and FBs.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Second Act

              For starters, he renegotiated his contract in February. It wasn't one of those cosmetic renegotiations, where money is shuffled to lessen that year's cap hit, but the overall dollars remain the same. It was a pay cut: from $6 million to $4 million in 2005, and from $6 million to $2 million in 2006. As a result, the Rams will save $3.5 million in cap room in both 2005 and 2006.
              In a world of holdouts, contract disputes, Drew Rosenhauses & Poston Bros., is there anything more refreshing than this? No, I didn't think so.
              The more things change, the more they stay the same.

              Comment

              Related Topics

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              • 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
                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, 04:51 AM
              • RamDez
                Faulk Leads Young RBs
                by RamDez
                Faulk Leads Young RBs
                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...
                -08-19-2004, 01:46 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, 10:33 AM
              • RamWraith
                He Marshalled all his talents
                by RamWraith
                By Lori Shontz
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                Saturday, Jul. 22 2006

                How did he do it? Rams running back Marshall Faulk has never been one for
                explaining. During his 12-year NFL career, he has routinely declined to talk
                about his family, his life growing up in the Desire Street housing project in
                New Orleans and even his on-field accomplishments.

                But on Christmas Eve 2000, just after rushing for 220 yards and three
                touchdowns against his hometown Saints and setting a then-NFL season record
                with 26 touchdowns, Faulk let down his guard a bit.

                "You dream about a lot of things when you grow up as a kid, and mine was to get
                out of my neighborhood and to make it in life, and you never know how far your
                determination and your drive is going to take you," he told reporters. "But
                you've just got to ... keep pushing. When things happen bad, close your eyes
                and just keep pushing. That's basically what I've done, and I'm here right now."

                It appears Faulk's days of pushing himself on the football field are nearing an
                end. Rams coach Scott Linehan announced Friday that Faulk will miss this season
                after having knee surgery this week. His NFL career might be over.

                But his legacy is secure. Former Rams coach Mike Martz once said everyone
                called him "Canton" because "that's where he's going to end up," and certainly
                Faulk doesn't need to rush for another yard or catch one more pass to secure a
                place in the Hall of Fame.

                In a three-year period from 1999 to 2001, Faulk was the star running back for
                the NFL's best offense. He was voted the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in
                all three seasons, won the 2000 MVP and finished second to teammate Kurt Warner
                in the 1999 and 2001 MVP balloting. Not coincidentally, the Rams went to the
                Super Bowl twice in that span, winning in 2000.

                "Whenever you talk about who the best was, you've got to include a lot of
                names," former Rams coach Dick Vermeil said last week. "But whenever you're
                talking about one of the finest to ever play, you have to talk about Marshall
                Faulk within that conversation."

                That's because Faulk did it all.

                He had the speed to outrun just about any defender; he once said he hasn't been
                caught from behind since his freshman year of high school. He could use his
                power to churn out yards; in the fourth quarter, if the Rams needed to run down
                the clock, he could carry the ball 10 times in a row, consistently making first
                downs.

                Style and substance

                Faulk's combination of athletic ability and intelligence - coaches said he
                understood the offense better than anyone - enabled him to find holes that no
                one...
                -07-23-2006, 05:31 AM
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