Steven Jackson's yards per carry jumped to 4.4 last season, his seventh in a row with at least 1,000 yards rushing.
The sustained production suggests the St. Louis Rams' running back has not slipped appreciably after eight seasons, a franchise-record 9,093 yards rushing and more than 2,500 offensive touches.
Jackson's new coach, Jeff Fisher, looks beyond the numbers when determining whether an older back still has what it takes to play the position at a high level.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Fisher watches to see whether running backs are getting tackled or increasingly absorbing big hits. Fisher: "You lose a step, you lose the ability to avoid, and then all of a sudden the vision changes and then you start getting hit. Steven is still a very aggressive runner." Even so, Fisher's affinity for running backs makes the Rams a candidate to select Trent Richardson in the draft. Noted: Jackson turns 29 this summer, which means it's time for the Rams to line up his successor, even if Jackson defies the odds by remaining productive for a couple more seasons. Fisher wants a strong ground game for the long term. A 29-year-old back is a short-term bet.
Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com says Eagles defensive tackle Trevor Laws indicated via Twitter he would be signing with the Rams. Noted: Laws, 26, played 14 games, starting one, while playing one-third of the Eagles' defensive snaps last season.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team grades draft prospects in relation to its own players. General manager John Schneider: "We build our (draft) board based on our team and what we have currently. So we compare these players to our current roster, and that’s how we build our board. We don’t build our board for the league, per se. ... So while people in a mock draft might feel like we need a certain position or a specific player, it’s just really who has the highest grade -- and if it fills a specific need, that’s great. But it’s a grade comparable to what our team is and how we see our own players at each position. That’s why it’s so important to know your team and evaluate your team first and foremost."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals have promoted Ryan Slowik from defensive quality-control coach to outsid- linebackers coach. Somers: "There was no immediate indication from the Cardinals if a new quality-control coach would be hired, or if Slowik would continue doing those duties. Either way, it's a good move for Slowik, who joined the Cardinals in 2009. His father Bob is the Redskins' defensive backs coach."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers' roster appears strong enough for the team to avoid reaching to fill needs in the draft.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee does not expect the 49ers to try Anthony Davis at right guard, but he thinks such a move could make the offensive line better. Barrows: "The 49ers traded up two slots to nab Davis in the 2010 draft, and he improved last year after an up-and-down rookie season. The 49ers love Davis' potential at right tackle, he's about to have his first full offseason under Jim Harbaugh's coaching staff, and he is unlikely to be moved. Still, it would seem that an offensive line in which Alex Boone plays right tackle and Davis plays right guard is better than one where they are switched."
Also from Barrows: The 49ers appear to be a poor match for HBO's "Hard Knocks" series.