Contract disputes less relevant to teammates

August, 19, 2008
8/19/08
1:43
PM ET

High-profile players for the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks have publicly complained about their contracts through word or deed. Steven Jackson continues to hold out from the Rams. Anquan Boldin is speaking out against the Cardinals. Bobby Engram has voiced his displeasure to the Seahawks. I asked Rams guard Richie Incognito Tuesday how much these situations affect the rest of the team.

"Not one bit," he said. "It only affects the people going through the situation. We don't worry about it. We have no say in it."

I also wondered how much Jackson's absence impacted the Rams' ability to develop continuity in the ground game. The holdout might affect Jackson more than it affects the line.

"He has to build his continuity with us," Incognito said. "He has to come in and feel us out and feel where the plays are hitting. We can get our work [as a line] with or without Steven."

The Rams recently lost backup guards Mark Setterstrom and Brandon Gorin to season-ending injuries. A hand injury has sidelined center Brett Romberg for the time being. I asked Incognito if the Rams' line finds itself standing atop the same slippery slope it faced last season, when injuries forced the Rams to use 18 combinations up front.

"It's still early," Incognito said. "We have a good feeling around the offensive line. Big O (Orlando Pace) is back. He is working himself back. Alex [Barron] is healthy. I'm healthy. Romberg will be healthy. Jacob [Bell] is healthy.

"You can't look toward setbacks like that. If it happens, it happens. This year our focus is, whoever goes down, we move on and play the next game."

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