Jackson Expecting to Play
Thursday, September 29, 2005
By Nick Wagoner
When Steven Jackson was named the Rams’ starting running back during the offseason, he accepted the job with open arms.
He knew what he was getting himself into as far as carrying to bulk of the load on the ground, accepting blitz pickup duties and the idea of playing through pain.
That said, Jackson fully expects to start and play at full speed against the Giants this weekend despite a chest injury that caused him to miss about a quarter and a half against the Titans last week.
“I am the starting running back and I am going to go out there and be responsible enough to play no matter what the circumstances are,” Jackson said. “I don’t plan on sitting out. We talked about it and everyone is anticipating me to play Sunday.”
That includes Jackson himself. Jackson was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and didn’t appear that likely to play, but Jackson worked in more during Thursday’s workout.
Jackson injured the chest on a 6-yard pass from Marc Bulger with three minutes and 50 seconds left in the second quarter. On the play, Jackson was tripped by cornerback Andre Woolfolk before a pair of Titans’ linebackers converged on him. The brunt of the linebackers landing on him combined with the force of simply landing on the ground caused the bruise.
Jackson remained in the game for a couple of plays before leaving for about a quarter and a half, but he obviously in pain and favored his side for most of the rest of the time he was in there.
The pain has subsided some in the past couple of days, but Jackson said he still struggled with deep breathing. Jackson is still listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
“I’m just taking it easy right now,” Jackson said. “Deep breaths are something I have to get acclimated to again because it tends to hurt the area when I take a deep breath. I need to work on my conditioning and getting used to the hard breathing again.”
It seemed that maybe Jackson was a little too optimistic about playing this week considering his limited participation in practice, but coach Mike Martz said he fully expects Jackson to suit up and participate.
“I think he is going to play,” Martz said. “It’s a contusion on the chest and those things can be very painful. Obviously he played the second half, so he is going to play. He is going to be hurting during the week. It’s hard for him to move around for awhile. As each week goes by he’ll get better and better, but he’ll be fine.”
Jackson did return to the game against the Titans and finished the game in obvious pain. He says if he can do that then playing this week should be no problem.
“Nothing can be like it was Sunday so I think if I can finish the game under that kind of pain I can go out there and play Sunday,” Jackson said.
JOHNSON ADJUSTS: Chris Johnson has been in the NFL for three years, but just because he has that amount of time spent in the league doesn’t mean that he has the experience to match the tenure.
“People, because he’s been out for two or three years, assume he’s a veteran,” Martz said. “He hasn’t played. He’s been injured, been out for two years. So, the discipline of playing corner and all the technique work has been lost, because he’s been injured, he’s been out. He’s learning quickly and he’s on a really steep learning curve, and he’s doing a really good job with it, and it showed up in the game last week.”
Johnson spent most of the first two weeks working almost exclusively as a kick returner, but he finally got his chance to make a real difference on defense against the Titans, working in as a corner in nickel packages.
Although Johnson struggled in his first appearance in an NFL game when he stepped out of bounds on the St. Louis 1 on the opening kickoff of the season, he is working quickly to put that behind him.
Johnson finished Sunday’s game with a pair of tackles and a pass defended but it was a lick he put on receiver Tyrone Calico that instantly became his favorite NFL memory thus far. Calico fumbled the ball and safety Michael Hawthorne recovered to give the Rams their second takeaway in a matter of moments.
“I was just trying to help the defense,” Johnson said. “My M.O. is the more turnovers you have on defense the better opportunity you have to win the game so you get the ball out three times you are probably guaranteed to win that game. We were just trying to get as many turnovers as possible.”
Johnson’s physical attributes were the biggest reason the Rams traded linebacker Robert Thomas for him and so far some of those attributes are beginning to be revealed. Johnson once ran the 40-yard dash in 4.18 seconds and estimates that he could still run it in the low 4.2s.
“He’s a big guy that has terrific catch-up speed,” Martz said. “He really has unusual speed. So, that always gives him a chance. The technical aspect about his backpedaling, his plant and drive and all those kinds of things, he’s still rough around the edges, but he has gotten a lot better.”
BABY PICKETT: Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett missed Thursday's practice to be with wife Jennifer. The Picketts are expecting their second daughter to be named Abigail Alice. Abigail is the Picketts’ second daughter, joining sister Jill in the family.
INJURY REPORT: There were a few alterations to the Rams’ injury report Thursday.
Cornerback Terry Fair was released to make room for offensive lineman Richie Incognito and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy was removed after recovering from an illness.
Joining Jackson as questionable is free safety Michael Hawthorne. Hawthorne was more active in Thursday’s practice and seems to be running around better on his injured ankle.
Receiver Isaac Bruce (toe) and tackle Rex Tucker (calf) remain doubtful. Quarterback Marc Bulger (ribs), tight end Brandon Manumaleuna (knee) and guard Tom Nütten (toe) are still probable.
For the Giants, cornerback Will Peterson was downgraded to out for the week because of a back injury. Peterson usually starts alongside Will Allen, but is expected to be out for an extended period of time. Curtis Deloatch or rookie Corey Webster will probably get the start in his place.
Re: Jackson Expecting to Play
Congrats to the Picketts on little baby Abigail. :peace:
Chris Johnson did have a nice hit on Calico. That would be a good memory.
So..... How hurt is Stephen Jackson????