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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Jackson deserves to get chance in primary role

    By Bernie Miklasz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    12/01/2004

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz

    In sports, as in life, the passage of time can be sad. Our favorite
    sports stars can't stay forever young. Their bodies wear out. They
    slow down. They get phased out. And then they'll ease into retirement,
    and a younger athlete takes over.

    Sometimes the transition is handled gracefully. Cardinals outfielder
    Willie McGee, for example, extended his career by embracing a
    secondary role. Rams quarterback Trent Green was the consummate
    professional as a backup to Kurt Warner in 2000 and got rewarded with
    a trade to Kansas City.

    Other times, the switch can be a bitter experience for everyone
    involved. Ozzie Smith still resents the way he lost his shortstop
    position to Royce Clayton in 1996. And Warner's relationship with Rams
    coach Mike Martz deteriorated before Martz released the QB last
    spring.

    The Rams are approaching another sensitive passing of the baton.

    Marshall Faulk is one of the great running backs in NFL history, and
    he's a sure Hall of Fame inductee.

    But rookie Steven Jackson should be the Rams' primary runner.

    Faulk can play a role. I'm not saying the Rams should dump him, or
    treat Faulk as if he's a practice-squad scrub. He can still be a
    positive contributor. Given Martz's desire and ability to keep
    defenses off-balance by using myriad formations and personnel
    groupings, there are ways to utilize Faulk's multiple skills.

    Faulk, however, is 31. His knees have taken a pounding. Faulk
    understandably isn't as quick. He doesn't win that race to the corner
    as often as he once did. And linebackers drag him down in open space
    now.

    When he feels good, Faulk can still deliver; he has three 100-yard
    rushing games this season. But it's increasingly difficult for Faulk's
    wheels to bounce back after heavy-duty days. In the three games
    following his 100-yard days this season, Faulk has carried the ball a
    total of 33 times for 84 yards (2.5 yards a rush). When Faulk's legs
    are fresh, he's still an elite back. When he can't recharge those
    legs, he's ordinary at best.

    Over the past 29 games, totaling 450 carries, Faulk is averaging a
    pedestrian 3.8 yards a rush. His combined rushing-receiving yards
    averages have dropped over the past few years: 156 yards from
    scrimmage per game in 2000, to 153 yards in 2001, to 106 yards in
    2002, to 100 yards in 2003, to 88 yards in 2004. The pattern is clear.

    Jackson is more suited to carry the load. Jackson hauls his 230 pounds
    with a lighter man's touch. He is a punishing runner who can blast-cap
    through the defensive line to open his own holes, but he also has
    flashed a nifty cutback ability. Jackson can outrun smaller foes. And
    he's demonstrated soft receiving hands.

    True, the Rams offensive line isn't very good. But isn't it
    interesting, the way Jackson makes the O-line look tougher by
    averaging 5.1 yards a carry? Martz should turn his No. 1 draft pick
    loose, and make him this team's Ramrod. Give Jackson 20, 25 carries a
    game - a workload that's no longer realistic for Faulk.

    In college, the more Jackson ran in a game, the stronger and more
    effective he became. When linebackers and defensive backs are fatigued
    in the fourth quarter, the last thing they want to see coming at them
    is a huge running back with bad intentions.

    Jackson needs polishing. He has to improve his blitz pickups, learn
    how to set up blocks and sharpen his timing. And he must be more
    reliable in securing the football. But he'll improve in these areas
    through increased playing time. Besides, if Jackson can get rolling
    and sustain a running game, it will help keep a terrible Rams defense
    on the sideline.

    When Martz concluded that it was time for Marc Bulger to replace
    Warner at quarterback, he didn't hesitate to make the move. So there's
    no reason for Martz to be timid in this case. And there shouldn't be a
    double standard.

    It's Jackson's time.
    _______________________________________________


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is online now Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: Jackson deserves to get chance in primary role

    Yeah, half of us have been saying this for weeks, Bernie. Thanks for the news flash.

  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is online now Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Jackson deserves to get chance in primary role

    This questioning of Faulk is getting tiresome and I don't think Jackson deserves the primary role. If Faulk is banged up, that's one thing, but if he is healthy, he should be the guy. He's proven he can produce when given the load. He is smarter than Jackson, niftier as a reciever out of the backfield, a better blocker and a great runner when given the opportunity to get into a rhythm.

    It's interesting that Bernie says Faulk can't realistically carry a load of 20 attempts per game any more. How do you know if the evidence is simply not there?? In the three games he had over 18 carries, he produced over 120 yards. Every game he was given a ligitimate amount of carries, those tired, worn out, weary legs somehow got the job done. When Faulk has a few unproductive 20 attempt games, then I'll be willing to concede his role should change. Until that happens, or he is physically unable to perform, he's the guy.

  4. #4
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Jackson deserves to get chance in primary role

    Why don't they just rotate them in for fresh legs and pound the ball til the D comes up and then kill'em! Deep ball ,short ball, slant , whatever. Jsut suck them in!

  5. #5
    majorram's Avatar
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    Re: Jackson deserves to get chance in primary role

    Use them both, Jackson and Faulk, love them when they are in the back field together and faulk moves to the slot... but the time is coming for Jackson and I reckon this will be the last season for Faulk as a RAM.....(god did I say that)...


    steve :ramlogo:

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