Rams’ Jackson gets quality RBs to spell him

Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson turned 28 last month and

the St. Louis Rams have signed two players to help spell him during

games.

Jackson has rushed for 7,984 yards in 100 games in his seven NFL

seasons, and averaged 4.2 yards a carry. But he has never had a

quality backup to give him a break.

”I still feel fresh. I still feel young,” Jackson said after a

long practice Thursday. ”I’m looking forward to this year. I feel

really good about the season and where we’re going. We’ve got some

new fresh talent on this team and it’ll make each and every player

better.”

The Rams believe they have fixed the backup situation by signing

Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood to one-year deals.

”I think the addition of both guys – Norwood and Williams –

bring us depth and competition, which makes us better,” Jackson

said.

Jackson said the signing of free-agent right guard Harvey Dahl

stood out more in his mind.

”In my opinion, that’s the best pickup,” Jackson said. ”The

right guard is a position you lean heavy on, especially in the run

game.

”I think the Dahl addition lengthens my career. But I’m very

excited about the new additions at running back. They’ll help us

get better.”

The 5-foot-11, 217-pound Williams is expected to be the Rams’

No. 2 running back, while Norwood will be No. 3. Norwood also could

serve as a kickoff returner.

Williams has played the last six seasons for the Tampa Bay

Buccaneers. He rushed for 1,178 yards and six touchdowns as a

rookie in 2005 and then gained 798 yards in 2006 before knee

injuries limited him to 10 games over the next two seasons. He ran

for 823 yards and four touchdowns in 2009 before losing his

starting job to LeGarrette Blount.

Last year, Williams still filled an important role for the

Buccaneers as a third-down back, rushing for 437 yards and catching

a career-high 46 passes for 355 yards and one touchdown.

Williams was the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft after

rushing 3,831 yards and breaking Bo Jackson’s school record for

touchdowns with 45 in four years at Auburn.

The 5-9, 209-pound Norwood, who turns 28 on Friday, rushed for

more than 600 yards in his first two seasons. He also returns kicks

and sports a career average of 25.5 yards.

However, Norwood has played in only 12 games the last two

seasons, including just two last year when he sustained a

season-ending knee injury.

Norwood had his best season as a rookie in 2006 when he rushed

for 633 yards and two touchdowns. He had 613 yards rushing and a

touchdown in 2007, and 489 yards and four touchdowns in 2008.

”You know what, I’m not sure what my role is,” Williams said.

”I’m looking forward to coming out here and competing and help

Steven Jackson and the offense in any way possible. I’m just

looking forward to doing whatever.”

Williams was surprised to hear from the Rams.

”I knew they were in the hunt for a back, but when they signed

Norwood, I thought they were good. But they called me and said they

still wanted me,” Williams said.

Norwood said he is healthy and ready to go.

”I’m always going to go out and give 110 percent and I’ll

always do my best to help this team in any way possible,” Norwood

said. ”I’ll keep a good attitude, keep a smile on my face and be a

winner.”