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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    "Jackson Close to Grand Finish"

    Thursday, December 27, 2007

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer


    The 1,000-yard mark used to have all of the proper cache to be the determining factor in how successful a running back’s season has been.

    In the modern era of the game, though, reaching 1,000 yards in 16 games doesn’t have quite the same swagger. At least not when it’s spread out over all of those games.

    In Steven Jackson’s case, though, reaching 1,000 yards for the 2007 season would be quite an accomplishment considering the circumstances.

    “I don’t think 1,000 yards is what it used to be,” quarterback Marc Bulger said. “Sixteen games I am sure Steven would tell you he would rather have 1,500 or something and that wasn’t his goal. I guess it would be good for our line to maybe say you had a 1,000-yard back but I’m sure our goals are higher than that.”

    Indeed, the goals for Jackson and the Rams offense are set well above the 1,000-yard plateau for the course of a season. But considering what Jackson has dealt with in 2007, the fact that he needs just 53 rushing yards against the Cardinals on Sunday to reach that mark is almost unbelievable.

    Coming off a tremendous 2006 season in which he led the NFL in yards from scrimmage, Jackson had high hopes for 2007, including a stated goal of 2,500 yards from scrimmage.

    All hopes to reach that goal vanished when Jackson suffered a groin injury on Sept. 23 against Tampa Bay. Although Jackson finished with 115 yards that day, the injury was severe enough to keep him on the sidelines for the next four games.

    Jackson returned on Oct. 28 against Cleveland and steamrollered the Browns to the tune of 41 yards on eight carries with a touchdown in the first quarter. But back spasms cost him the rest of that game and he did not return.

    With a bye week to rest, Jackson came back at full strength and has been running over, past and around defenses ever since.

    “I feel really strong with my groin and my back,” Jackson said. “I rehabbed it and worked out like crazy with it to make sure I could finish the season strong and look healthy like I am. Also, the (same) offensive line has been able to play together, three or four games (in a row). That in itself allows for some holes to be open as well.”

    Since his return on Nov. 11 against New Orleans, Jackson has posted 100 yards from scrimmage in all seven contests. His rushing average has skyrocketed to 4.3 yards per carry after he gained just 3.4 yards per attempt in the first trio of contests.

    “I was looking at some things for him,” Linehan said. “His average is right back there now, close to last year. He’s starting to warm up. He had the injuries, set him back. Without that he’s had a really good second half of the season. It’s meaningful to the (offensive) line, the offense and all of us. We go out and establish the line of scrimmage and get him back into that 1,000-yard club. The plan is to have many, many more with him as well.”

    Jackson hasn’t had as much success in the passing game as he did in 2006, but that’s mostly because he’s getting a lot more attention from opposing defenses. Green Bay spied Jackson with a linebacker (usually former Oregon State teammate Nick Barnett) for most of the game.

    That has become a trend in most of the games Jackson has been involved in for 2007. Another trend has been Jackson working behind a patchwork offensive line nearly every week. That has also limited Jackson’s ability to get going.

    Still, it’s hard to argue that any team in recent weeks has even been able to slow down Jackson. Against the Steelers, Jackson was doing pretty much whatever he wants but only got 12 opportunities as the Rams fell behind on the scoreboard again.

    Given more chances, Jackson would likely be closing in on something closer to 1,200 yards right now. While reaching 1,000 yards doesn’t have the flair it used to, it would still be meaningful for Jackson to reach that number again.

    “It will mean three consecutive years of reaching that plateau of 1,000 yards,” Jackson said. “It will continue to build something here with our offensive line and our running game to be proud of. It would be tremendous if we can reach 1,000 yards rushing.”


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: "Jackson Close to Grand Finish"

    It is pretty awesome when you think about it. Jackson has missed approx. 4 1/2 games and 1,000 yards is in reach. The guy is a beast!!!

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: "Jackson Close to Grand Finish"

    Since his return on Nov. 11 against New Orleans, Jackson has posted 100 yards from scrimmage in all seven contests. His rushing average has skyrocketed to 4.3 yards per carry after he gained just 3.4 yards per attempt in the first trio of contests.
    Just so you know, project his post-bye stats on a full season.....

    1,538 rushing yards, 4.74 ypc, 8 rush TDs, 62 rec., 466 rec. yards, 2 rec. TDs

    That's 2,004 yards from scrimmage.........behind (arguably) the worst O-line in the league.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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