<
>

Jackson says he'll be back for Rams vs. Cleveland

10/24/2007 - NFL Steven Jackson St. Louis Rams + more

ST. LOUIS -- The struggling Rams could get a boost from the
return of Steven Jackson after the running back practiced
Wednesday.

Coach Scott Linehan said that unless he suffers a setback during
the week, Jackson will be on the field when the winless Rams host
Cleveland (3-3) on Sunday.

Jackson expects to be back without limitations after missing
four games with a partially torn groin.

"The groin is something, it feels good one day and the next day
you may have a little tweak to it," Jackson said. "As long as
things are going good I want to stay out there."

His return can only help. The Rams (0-7) are scoring 11.3 points
per game, worst in the NFL, and are 30th with 274.6 yards per game.
St. Louis scored seven points or fewer in three of the four games
without Jackson.

Rookie Brian Leonard has had the bulk of work at running back in
Jackson's absence. But he hasn't lived up to the numbers Jackson
put up last season, when he led the NFL with 2,334 combined rushing
and receiving yards.

"When I first came here I knew the offense was built around
No. 39," tight end Randy McMichael said. "And when that big
part of your offense is gone, it takes its toll. I'm just excited
to be with him."

Quarterback Marc Bulger said Jackson's presence changes the way
defenses approach the Rams.

"When you're a playmaker like him, he can bring linebackers up
with play-action so it will help the pass game," Bulger said.
"Any play he touches the ball we can take it all the way, and I
think that's something we've been missing."

Whether Jackson will get much help from the offensive line
remains unclear. The line, already hurt by a series of injuries,
had another setback Tuesday when guard Claude Terrell was cut after
being charged with assaulting his wife in Houston.

Against the Browns, Milford Brown will move from right tackle to
left guard. Brandon Gorin will play at right tackle. Gorin wasn't
even signed until Pace was hurt.

It will be the sixth combination of linemen in eight games for
St. Louis.

"It's not the greatest scenario with moving these guys around
and having different lineups, but we really have no choice -- we're
trying to get the best five out there," Linehan said.

The Rams are also expected to have wide receiver Drew Bennett
(hamstring) back Sunday. He was inactive in last week's 33-6 loss
in Seattle. Bulger, still nursing two broken ribs from Week 2
against San Francisco, rated his own health as an 8 on a scale of
10.

The Rams will be without DE Leonard Little, who has a torn
ligament in his left big toe and may need surgery. Also out is kick
returner Dante Hall with a high left ankle sprain, and center
Brett Romberg is out because he sprained his right ankle against the
Seahawks.

To fill the roster spot left vacant by Terrell's release, the
Rams signed Rob Petitti. Petitti, 6-6 and 327 pounds, started all
16 games for Dallas in 2005 and was with the Saints in 2006.