ST. LOUIS — With a new offense and a couple of new offensive linemen, St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson welcomes a larger work load during the preseason.
"We have an entirely new staff, a new offseason scheme, the offensive line is fairly new for me as well, so as much as possible,'' Jackson said of his preseason playing time. "(As long as) the 1's are going to be in, I would expect that I will be in so we can work on our chemistry and get some game-time experience against some other players outside of our own defense.''
Jackson said Rams coach Jeff Fisher hasn't informed him yet about how much he'll play in the team's preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Fisher said Jackson probably wouldn't play as much as the rest of the Rams starters.
"Jack(son) may play a few plays less than the next guy, but philosophically speaking I think we pretty much, follow what everybody else does,'' Fisher said. "Couple series to a quarter, and then guys that may be competing for a starting job may play. So, you're talking about anywhere from 12 to 20 plays."
Jackson traditionally has not gotten a lot of carries in the preseason.
Last year, he had 24 carries for 89 yards in the preseason. He also caught three passes for 36 yards.
"Whenever I can get out there, get hit around, get tackled and fall to the ground a little is all good because you have to get your body ready as much as you have to get mentally prepared for the season,'' Jackson said.
Jackson said he feels fresh after Fisher gave him a couple of days off from practicing at training camp this week.
"It's awesome,'' Jackson said. "That's really important after six months of not doing much during the offseason to now full-go. The body has its peaks and valleys and its plateaus as well.
"Coach does a good job of managing us, asking us how we are feeling. The moment that we even give a hint that we might be on the downhill end of it, he gives us a break so we can come back fresher and stronger.''
Fisher had a track record of riding his running backs long and hard with the Tennessee Titans.
Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who spent last season with the New York Jets, said Jackson will get plenty of carries in the regular season.
"Obviously, Steven is the bell cow, we know that,'' Schottenheimer said. "I think if you look at Jeff's history and our history with New York what we were able to do is you have a bell cow, a feature back that he's the main guy, but you spell him some.''
Schottenheimer said the Rams need young running backs like rookie Isaiah Pead, a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, to give Jackson a break.
"I think what we want to do is we want to try to get a number of people involved,'' Scottenheimer said.
Schottenheimer said spelling Jackson will keep him fresh for the long haul.
"What you see is that featured bell cow back getting stronger,'' Schottenheimer said. "Thomas Jones in his first year I think he had 1,400 yards. Leon Washington had about 500. Then we brought LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) in two years ago to help Shonn Green.
"Having multiple backs is really important. I know Jeff had a couple guys put up big numbers a couple of years ago. We're excited that we have a full stable of backs."
NFL running backs usually have a short shelf life, butSchottenheimer said that's not why he wants to spell the 29-year-old Jackson.
"I don't think it has anything to do with Steven's age at all,'' Schottenheimer said.
Jackson is already the Rams' career rushing leader with 9,093 yards.
He needs seven touchdowns to pass Marshall Faulk as the Rams' all-time leader in rushing touchdowns. Faulk had 58 touchdowns from 1999-2005.
Jackson is the longest-tenured Rams player. He has been with the team since being taken in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft.
No other player has been with the Rams before 2008.
"Last week, we had some old guys coming back like (former Rams) Pisa Tinoisamoa and Andy McCollum, and I was the only player that they recognized,'' Jackson said. "There has been a lot of turnover. The guys we have here getting ready to be a part of this team and hopefully the 53-man roster, are very talented. We have depth at pretty much all the positions.
"What's going to happen over these next four games is going to be very interesting.''
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.