Olson's Short-Yardage Confidence In Jackson Pays Off
During today's game against San Francisco, I found myself saying "its about time" as the Rams gave the ball to Steven Jackson in each short yardage situation. This exclamation was based upon my perception that the Rams have, more often than not, failed to use Jackson in short yardage situations this season.
So I decided to look back and see if my perception is accurate. What I found is a clear indication that Gregg Olson, who called the plays against the Niners, has more confidence in Jackson's ability to pick up first downs in 3rd/4th and 1 situations than Scott Linehan has demonstrated.
Here are the numbers:
In the first ten games of the season, the Rams had 21 3rd or 4th down situations in which they ran an offensive play (eliminating 4th and 1 situations in which the team punted or kicked a field goal). In those 21 plays, Linehan ran the ball to Steven Jackson only 8 times (38%). In those 8 attempts, Jackson picked up the first down 6 times (75%).
To be fair, the Rams' success on the remaining 13 was comparable. In 9 of 12 instances in which Jackson's number was not called, the Rams picked up the first down (75%), two being runs by Stephen Davis. The final instance, the Rams gained a first down by way of a penalty on the defense.
However, it struck me as odd that the Rams would generally not call Jackson's number on 3rd or 4th and 1 (only doing so 38% of the time in the first 10 games). After all, he is a 230 lb. "workhorse" type back, right?
Today, the Rams had six 3rd or 4th and 1 situations, and ran the ball to Jackson 5 times. In each instance, he picked up the first down (gaining 3, 4, 7, 6 and 4 yards). Two of those pick-ups came on 4th and 1 on the decisive drive in the fourth quarter.
In my mind, this is how Jackson should be used. The message it sends is, "if we need one yard, we're going to hand the ball to Jackson, and you can't stop him." That's the mindset of a power rushing team.
Let's hope we see more of the same in the weeks to come.
Re: Olson's Short-Yardage Confidence In Jackson Pays Off
i very much agree with you.
it seems to me that Linehan is expecting the other team will think Jackson is getting the ball in the short yardage situation, and so he goes elsewhere to confuse them or to exploit where they may have stacked against the run.
But the thing is, if they cant stop him when its an expected run, then keep pounding with Jackson!