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Jackson Likes What He Sees

Posted Aug 11, 2011

As one of the most tenured players on the Rams’ roster, running back Steven Jackson is in as good a position as any to offer his opinion on where this year’s team is in its development so far in training camp.

After a flurry of roster moves that netted the Rams more depth across the board and potential starters at a variety of spots, Jackson likes what he sees in this still relatively young incarnation of training camp.

“Camp is going really good,” Jackson said. “We’re making some great strides. Sunday we had the scrimmage, I think we saw from a personnel standpoint where we’re going with it. Guys are getting comfortable with some of the language and the formations are different things that…we’ve only had a week to really be in. Guys are really learning at a fast pace and really looking forward to this first preseason game.”

Therein lies the rub for the Rams and – really – every team in the league. With a condensed version of camp taking place and the first week of preseason games kicking off Thursday night, teams are burning the midnight oil to try to get up to speed as fast as possible.

The Rams are working in a new offensive system led by coordinator Josh McDaniels which puts them a little further behind the eight ball.

But for the most part, the Rams are working in the same situation as the rest of the league.

“The one thing about it is, we all know the lockout set some teams back but the good thing about it is everyone has an even playing field,” Jackson said. “I definitely feel good about where we’re at in the process of learning. Our defense, they were terrific last year. They’re going to build off of that especially with some the new guys we’re bringing in. As far as our offense, we have some explosiveness at the wide out position. I’m sure the play calling and Sam’s (Bradford) second year we’ll be fine.”

In carrying a 90-man roster for the first preseason of his NFL career, the business side of the game is opening a lot of eyes. Teams are churning their rosters with much more frequency leaving less time to get to know other players and more time to spend in the playbook.

Jackson has been around long enough to know that’s not much different than normal but acknowledged that it’s something his younger teammates have to get used to.

“That’s just business,” Jackson said. “You learn that fast. I always tell the young guys its nothing like high school or college where you’re around the same people for three or four years. Your roster constantly changes within the year. This is how this business works.  You see it for what it is and you try and learn to work within the grasp of it or the structure of how the NFL works. There’s been a lot of turnover, but I think in that turnover we have weeded out some guys and we’ve found some people that fit what we want to do here in St. Louis. We’re definitely building a solid team.”

For his part, Jackson is doing all that he can to ensure he’s taking his usual place as team leader and key cog in the offense.

Jackson says he feels like he’s in “tip top” shape and having a good camp that will have him poised for another big year.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo says Jackson remains at the center of everything the Rams want to do on the field and in the locker room.

“I think that’s a credit to him and the way he handles his body in the offseason and during the season,” Spagnuolo said. “He does it right and I’m hoping we do the right things with him too. He’s touched the ball a lot. He’s a durable guy. We always say that about him being a warrior, but I think he’s able to do that because one, his mindset, and two because he takes care of his body.”

RAMS ON TV: The Rams made a couple of announcements on Thursday concerning their preseason games and television.

First, Saturday night’s opener against Indianapolis at the Edward Jones Dome will be televised live as the team met the requirements to be aired at the scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff time.

In addition, the Rams announced that all of their preseason contests will air on 11 stations in five states across the Midwest.

In Missouri, the games will appear on KTVI-Fox 2 in St. Louis as usual but will also air on stations in Columbia, Springfield, Joplin and Cape Girardeau.

The games will also be broadcast in Springfield, Illinois, Evansville, Indiana, Fort Smith, Arkansas, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

For a complete listing of the stations, check out the “From the Sidelines” blog at http://blog.stlouisrams.com/2011/08/11/preseason-games-and-television/.

INJURY REPORT: There was no change to the Rams injury report on Thursday as linebacker James Laurinaitis (strained pectoral) sat out for the second consecutive day.

Joining Laurinaitis on the sideline was defensive end James Hall (flexor), cornerback Ron Bartell (ankle), receiver Donnie Avery (hamstring) and defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo (back).

Cornerback Al Harris tweaked his knee early in practice and was pulled back.

Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) is still out and has been kept out of meetings after the exertion tests caused more symptoms. He’s day to day.

RAM BITS: Thursday’s practice was closed to the public. The team will be back on the practice field on Friday at 2:45 with another open practice…The Rams also announced 14 new radio affiliates covering Missouri, Illinois and Oklahoma for the 2011 season. That brings the network to 26 total stations.