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  1. #1
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    Bradford's success will depend on Jackson

    Bradford's success will depend on Jackson
    Bernie Miklasz
    Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 12:25 am | Loading…

    Sam Bradford's best friend is Steven Jackson.

    I don't know if they hang out away from Rams Park. But recent history tells us there's a direct correlation between the success of a rookie QB and the yards produced by his top running back or backs.

    The Detroit Lions made Matthew Stafford the No. 1 overall pick in 2009. Stafford impressed with his toughness and talent, but he also took a beating and was limited to 10 starts. Detroit's leading rusher was Kevin Smith (734 yards), and the Lions finished 24th among 32 teams in rushing.

    Mark Sanchez was the New York Jets' top pick last season. He made 15 starts, showed gradual improvement and played well in the postseason. The Jets didn't have to ask Sanchez to carry the offense; they led the NFL in rushing at 172 yards a game.

    In 2008, rookie quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco made flashy debuts. Atlanta's Ryan led the Falcons to an 11-5 record and a playoff spot. He also had Michael Turner romping for 1,699 yards; Atlanta was No. 2 in the NFL in rushing. Baltimore used the league's fourth-ranked rushing attack to ease the pressure on Flacco.

    Going back a bit, the 2002 draft brought in early first-round picks David Carr (Houston) and Joey Harrington (Detroit). Both rookie quarterbacks got roughed up, and their careers stalled. In 2002, Houston and Detroit ranked 31st and 29th in rushing, respectively. It wasn't surprising to see the rookie QBs suffer.

    In 1998, rookie Peyton Manning was guilty of throwing too many interceptions, but he also started every game and passed for 3,739 yards and 26 TDs. His running back that year was Marshall Faulk, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage.

    Rookie QB Troy Aikman got pummeled by Dallas opponents in 1989. His running back was Paul Palmer. In 1990, the Cowboys drafted RB Emmitt Smith, and Aikman's career soon took off.

    If Jackson stays healthy, he'll be a terrific buddy for Bradford. SJ39 has the credentials. Since Jackson became the starter in 2005, he ranks third in the NFL in rushing, first in average yards rushing per game, second in total yards from scrimmage and first in average yards from scrimmage per game.

    In the buildup to Bradford's rookie season, there's been a lot of talk about how the coaches can help him, how veteran backup A.J. Feeley can help him, how the offensive line can help him.

    But history tells us that a robust Steven Jackson will help Bradford more than any Rams player or coach in 2010.

    Reading Time, three Minutes

    Don't count Adam Wainwright out of the National League Cy Young race just yet. ... A happy 50th wedding anniversary to Arizona Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill and his wife, Nancy. Will they celebrate with a banana-chocolate malt at Crown Candy during the team's trip to St. Louis this weekend? ... Between 20 and 25 former St. Louis (football) Cardinals players will be Bidwill's guests in the visiting owner's suite Sunday.

    Arizona almost certainly will bring the blitz Sunday. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis is one of the best blitz designers in the league. Last season only one team had more sacks on blitzes than Arizona's 27. The Cardinals led the league in third-down sacks via the blitz, with 13. When is the favorite time for Davis to call the blitz? Last season, on third down, when an opponent had between four and six yards to go, the Cardinals blitzed 67 percent of the time. (Numbers courtesy of STATS LLC.)

    So how do Bradford and the Rams counteract the Arizona rush? In no particular order: (1) Jackson; (2) screens and draws; (3) misdirection plays; (4) bootlegs. A little no-huddle action could work, too. One note to add to this: Jackson is very good, but the Rams have to be more creative with their run designs against the blitz. Last season, the Rams averaged only 3.1 yards when blitzed; that was the fifth-worst average in the NFL.

    Should Colby Rasmus be a regular player for the Cardinals? Apparently so. Through Thursday the Cardinals were 59-42 when Rasmus had two or more at-bats in a game, and 52-39 when he had at least three at-bats. ... If Albert Pujols wants to straighten Rasmus out, here's what he should do: be a positive force and take an interest in the kid's development. Rasmus is isolated in the clubhouse, and that's part of the problem.

    My feeling on Tony La Russa: He will return in 2011. But I have no inside knowledge on that. ... I would be surprised if the Cardinals didn't make some changes in their draft and player-development operation. ... Free Eric Brewer. I'd like to see David Backes as captain, but I'm going to stop growling about it. If the Blues believe Brewer is the right choice, hey, it's their team. And Brewer is respected by his teammates.

    Members of the Press Radio TV Bowling League have voted to rename the league in honor of John Archibald, the retired Post-Dispatch reporter and member of the PBA Hall of Fame. The naming ceremony will be Monday at 11:45 a.m. at Olivette Lanes. "Arch" is recovering from a stroke he suffered last year.

    I asked Faulk about Kurt Warner's dancing skills; Warner is a contestant on the new season of "Dancing With the Stars." Said Faulk: "I've seen Kurt dance and it isn't a good sight. But they'll coach him up." ... Congrats to St. Louis police officer Mark O'Brien, who won three gold medals in billiards at the recent International Police Olympics in Ohio.

    Belated congrats to John Marecek (KTRS) and his wife Stacie; baby daughter Isabella Grace was born Aug. 16. ... Sports Illustrated's Peter King predicts a 23-10 Arizona win on Sunday, but CBS football analyst Phil Simms is taking the Rams over the Cardinals. ... Numbers man Paul Bessire of ran a simulation of the 2010 schedule 50,000 times; in his model the Rams averaged 3.6 wins this season. Bessire gives them a 31 percent chance to beat Arizona.

    The Nice Section

    Isaac Bruce will have his No. 80 retired by the Rams as part of the team's home game Oct. 31 against Carolina. But on Friday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m, the Isaac Bruce Foundation will host a fundraiser to thank fans and teammates for their support during his 16 NFL seasons. The event will take place at the Lumiere Place Theatre. There will be food, drink, music by the Ralph Butler Band, a live and silent auction. Each attendee will receive an autographed limited edition print produced for Bruce's jersey retirement weekend. Former teammates and current Rams will attend. Tax-deductible tickets start at $80. For tickets or information, visit The official web site of Isaac Bruce and The Isaac Bruce Foundation or call 314-369-4074.

  2. #2
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bradford's success will depend on Jackson

    That's really good stuff from Bernie on The Rams.... I wonder who wrote it for

    I don't think he should rate the O-line below SJ, though. The whole team's success rides on more consistent health & performance from both front lines but especially the OL. The fact that SJ has been so great but the team has failed so miserably is Exhibit A.

  3. #3
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    Re: Bradford's success will depend on Jackson

    I can take or leave Bernie. Some of his stuff is fine and some is silly but I can't even get past this headline.

    Which should of just read.... DUH!

  4. #4
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    Re: Bradford's success will depend on Jackson

    I think they need each other. Two demensional would be fabulous. The last 4 years teams have stacked the box because Jax has been the only player that teams held accountable. If Bradford can move this offense we'd get silly on everyone. The lanes will open up for jax if Bradford can continue his success. I think this is the year Jax gets his. RAAAMS BAAABY!!!

  5. #5
    bluesjoc Guest

    Re: Bradford's success will depend on Jackson

    Bradford is the real deal at QB give him the protection and this kid will pick you apart. Mark Clayton was a great pick up and will step right in and contribute in a big way!!

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