The St. Louis Rams may be forced to use a pair of backups at running back against Baltimore on Sunday.
Steven Jackson injured his right quadriceps in the opener against Philadelphia and did not play in Monday’s loss to the New York Giants. Cadillac Williams, who rushed for 91 yards in replacing Jackson against the Eagles, hurt his hamstring in the first quarter against the Giants. Williams finished the game but gained just 36 yards on 13 attempts.
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Williams did not practice Wednesday or Thursday but got some work in Friday’s practice. Jackson also saw some limited time.
”I’m not going to say he went full-tilt there and opened it up,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said about Williams. ”At least he got some work today. (It) may be a game-time decision.”
If neither can go, Jerious Norwood and Quinn Porter move up and Spagnuolo said he has confidence in both backs. The Rams signed Norwood, a sixth-year pro, before training camp. Porter is in his first year in the NFL after being released by Cleveland.
”Both of those guys know what they’re doing,” Spagnuolo said. ”They’ve got the bulk of the work in practice.”
Norwood played in only 12 games the last two seasons at Atlanta, including just two last year when he sustained a season-ending knee injury.
He had his best season as a rookie in 2006 when he rushed for 633 yards and two touchdowns. He had 613 rushing yards and a touchdown in 2007 and he had 489 yards and four touchdowns in 2008.
Norwood said he is ready.
”You know when a guy goes down, the next guy’s got to be able to pick up the slack and keep rolling,” Norwood said. ”That’s what being a professional is all about – being able to handle your business.”
Jackson said he will be a game-day decision like he was against the Giants. He hurt the quad on a 47-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the season. He came in for another carry – a 9-yard gain – and has not played since.
”A quad injury is very delicate because you have to not only test it to see where it is, but if you do a little bit too much you could actually re-injure it and bring you back down to square one,” he said. ”It’s definitely an injury that is pretty delicate and you have to treat it as such.”
Jackson said he believes Norwood will be able to play well if he gets the nod.
”I think Jerious, he brings definitely home-run capabilities especially when you get him out on the edges,” Jackson said. ”He does a good job of that. He’s a threat inside and outside of the tackles and he does a pretty good job of catching the ball down the field.”
Williams would like to get back out there and overcome the fumbled lateral that changed the game with the Giants. On a third-and-eight, Williams got a backward pass from Sam Bradford at the New York 25. Williams dropped the ball, but didn’t go after it, thinking it was an incomplete pass.
New York’s Michael Boley alertly picked it up and took it in for a touchdown and a 14-6 lead early in the second quarter.
”It was just a boneheaded move by me, just knowing it’s a lateral like that, you’ve got to be aware and get on the ball,” Williams said. ”Just a boneheaded move by me.”
He is optimistic he can play Sunday.
”I feel good, so I should be ready to go,” Williams said. ”I don’t feel too bad.”