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Jackson likes running he ball any chance he gets
Martz and Bulger agree on putting ball in his hands
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - After scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the St. Louis Rams' 17-12 win over the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday, running back Steven Jackson got down on one knee in the end zone and acted like he was rolling dice.
"That's my signature now," Jackson said. "Vegas, baby."
Jackson is a native of Las Vegas. His father is a retired pit boss at the MGM Grand hotel.
Despite growing up in a gambling Mecca, Jackson isn't a big advocate of gambling.
"I am not a big gambler at all," Jackson said. "I learned over the years to stay away from that. Keep your money, kids, in the bank account."
Jackson has rushed 153 yards on 37 carries this season as the Rams' No. 1 running back.
Admittedly, Jackson would like to carry the ball more, but he figures he'll be toting the ball more often as the season progresses.
"It's a long season, so I'm not going to push or campaign for carries just yet, and I know as long as we are winning, I won't complain at all," Jackson said.
Rams coach Mike Martz called for Jackson to run the ball on five of the Rams' final eight offensive plays against the Cardinals.
"In situations where you are up and you only have a touchdown lead and your trying to keep them off the field, that's what any coach would do, run the ball," Jackson said. "Hopefully, we can do that better."
Martz said he truly wants to get the ball in Jackson's hands more often, especially late in games when they are trying to protect a lead.
"We're trying to make a real effort to get him the ball," Martz said. "We feel like giving him the ball, we can win the game."
Jackson said his perfect game would include 25 carries for 130-plus yards and a couple of touchdowns.
Asked whether he'd like to get 40 carries in a game, Jackson said, "No, no, that's too much. Twenty-five carries is an ideal day for Steven. I'll also take a couple of screens."
Jackson caught two passes for 16 yards against the Cardinals. He had a 35-yard gain on a screen pass called back on a questionable holding call against wide receiver Torry Holt.
Jackson jokingly chided Holt about the penalty.
"It was fortunate it came back," Jackson said. "I told him good thing it's not a run."
Holt said if Jackson has success, it will make things easier for the Rams' passing attack.
"We feel that if we can establish that run game, a dominance up front with Steven coming out of the backfield with the way he is feeling and the way he is running the football, that is just going to open things up for everybody," Holt said. "Everybody can win. Everybody knows how important the run game is in the National Football League. I think you win games running, and I think you win games if you stop the run."
Rams quarterback Marc Bulger also doesn't mind handing the ball off to Jackson.
"I'm the biggest fan (of running the ball)," Bulger said. "If we can keep running, that would be great. It takes so much pressure off of the passing game, and toward the end of the game, if we have the lead, we can use some of the clock. It's a nice luxury to have with those two backs back there."
The Titans rank 19th among the NFL's 32 teams in rushing defense this season, but they are traditionally tough against the run.
"I'm looking forward to it," Jackson said of the challenge of playing the Titans. "This is probably one of the best (defensive lines) we'll face all year. They have a very active linebacker corps. It's going to be interesting. They do a lot of things to try to confuse your blocking scheme. They want to set the tempo and intimidate you. It's going to be a lot of fun for me in the running game because we pride ourselves here on moving the ball down the field on the ground."
Re: Jackson likes running he ball any chance he gets"I'm the biggest fan (of running the ball)," Bulger said. "If we can keep running, that would be great. It takes so much pressure off of the passing game, and toward the end of the game, if we have the lead, we can use some of the clock. It's a nice luxury to have with those two backs back there."