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After the signing of Mike Sims-Walker, it seemed as though free agency was winding down for the Rams, but there was still a key ingredient missing from the team.
Ever since Marshall Faulk retired after the 2004 season, Steven Jackson has been the workhorse for the St. Louis offense, so the Rams were in need of a secondary running back in order to help Jackson.
Jerious Norwood was not as popular as some of the other options, such as Ronnie Brown or Jason Snelling, but he will still be a weapon for the offense.
Norwood rushed for 633 yards as a rookie in 2006 and had a remarkable 6.3 yards per carry average. He has a similar year in 2007 with 613 and a 6.0 average.
Norwood’s numbers greatly declined in 2009 (252 yards), as he missed six games due to injury. He looked to redeem himself last season, but he was sidelined after Week 2 with a season-ending ACL tear.
Jackson doesn’t have the same pop that he did five years ago, although he is still playing at a very high level. The Rams had to increase his longevity as much as possible by finding some help in the form of a backup running back capable of taking five to ten carries a game.
Norwood will allow Jackson to have an occasional breather throughout the game, which will keep him fresh for four quarters.
Where Does He Fit In?
Norwood had 28 receptions in 2007 and 36 in 2008, so he is a capable receiver out of the backfield.
We will frequently see Norwood enter the game in third-down situations in order to give Sam Bradford an extra receiving option.
However, he will also come in the game and take several consecutive carries whenever Jackson is on the bench catching his breath.
Also, Norwood had over 1,300 kick return yards in both 2007 and 2008, so he could possibly be the new return man for the team, which would give Danny Amendola some rest.
Rank Among Rams Signings: No.4 Letter Grade: C+
Explanation: Norwood could do a lot of good on offense and special teams, but he has been struggling with health the last two seasons. Also, the Rams ignored better options (Ronnie Brown, Jason Snelling, Joseph Addai) for Norwood.