ST. LOUIS — The final preseason game is a balancing act for St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher.
Fisher wants to get his starting units plenty of work in their final tune-up for the regular season, but he also wants to avoid injuries.
"It's how you start,'' Fisher said of his what he wants to get out of the last preseason game. "It's the emotion and the intensity in which you start play with. And then it's play hard consistently throughout the game, and then of course it's a little bit of everything.
It's evaluate some of the younger guys. It's evaluate your starters from a blocking and tackling standpoint. And probably most important, as everybody would say right now, is get through it healthy."
Fisher said his starters will play the entire first half, and possibly even a series in the third quarter.
Running back Steven Jackson will see action against the Ravens after not touching the ball even once last Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys.
"Yes, he's going to carry a little bit,'' Fisher said. "You can tell we kind of gave him the week off from last weekend from the standpoint of carrying the ball. But I'd like to get him some reps and get him banged around a little bit and get him ready for Detroit."
The Rams rank 22nd in offense and 30th in defense in the preseason.
Senior writer Peter King predicted that the Rams would finish in fourth place in the NFC West with a 3-13 record this season in Sports Illustrated's preview edition.
And, the Rams certainly have plenty of problems to clean up after their 20-19 loss to the Cowboys.
At the top of the list is pass protection, though the Rams probably will be missing starting left guard Harvey Dahl, who has an infection.
"Offensively, we did some good things and then we had some breakdowns up front,'' Fisher said. "We'll get those fixed.''
Center Scott Wells, who saw his first preseason action against the Cowboys, will play against the Ravens.
Fisher said Wells brings a veteran presence to the offensive line.
"He understands things, learned the offense very quickly, makes all the calls and makes them correctly all the time,'' Fisher said. "He anticipates things and he works very closely with the quarterback as he did up there in Green Bay."
Fisher said he's considering giving his two rookie receivers -- Brian Quick and Chris Givens -- some time with the first unit during the game.
Fisher said he's pleased with Quick's development so far. He was especially happy to see the second-round pick bounce back after receiving a big hit from Cowboys safety Mana Silva near the sideline.
"I'm very confident that Quick knows what to do and how to do it and will only get better,'' Fisher said. "I'm very impressed with his ability to come back from that hit. That was quite a hit and he bounced right back and wanted to play before the doctors cleared him to play, and came back in and made a big play.''
The game will be the last chance for the so-called bubble players to make their case for a roster spot.
The Rams must cut their roster down to 53 players by Friday night.
"He's (the bubble players) got to carry over what he's doing on the practice field into the game and show improvement over the last game," Fisher said. "If there were some mistakes that a young player made in two previous weeks, then we expect them to be eliminated."
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.