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Thread: Jackson Ready to Carry Load
Jackson Ready to Carry Load
Jackson Ready to Carry Load
Thursday, September 8, 2005
By Nick Wagoner
There is little doubt about the lasting impression Steven Jackson left on the ***** during his rookie season.
And that’s not even counting his 119-yard breakout performance in the second meeting with San Francisco.
In case any of those ***** forget this week what Jackson is capable of, they can turn to cornerback turned safety Mike Rumph and ask him what he remembers about his first meeting with Jackson.
"I remember thinking at the time, 'Why am I doing this?'” Rumph told the Associated Press. “But I stuck out my arm to try to trip him. When I was running off the field, I didn't even want to look at it; because I knew it was (broken) pretty bad."
This would be Rumph’s attempt at arm tackling the running back known around Rams Park as “Train.” As Jackson burst up the middle with the ball, Rumph dived at him, sticking his arm directly in the path of Jackson’s churning legs. In other words, Rumph’s arm was on the tracks as the train came through.
The result was a broken arm and a spot on the injured list for the rest of the season for Rumph. Jackson didn’t recall the play, but said he felt bad about what happened to Rumph.
“I don’t remember,” Jackson said. “But I remember it being brought up a lot, especially this week. Like I told the San Francisco media, you never go out and try to hurt anyone. We all understand this is our livelihood and guys do want to play and the biggest thing for me is just to protect myself at all times. What happened to Mike was unfortunate but that’s the game of football.”
Still, even Jackson was willing to admit that arm tackling him is probably not the best approach to bringing him down.
Rumph should get plenty of opportunities to tackle Jackson again Sunday when the Rams and ***** open the regular season at Monster Park. This time Jackson is the starting running back and will probably get more than his share of the work.
After a rookie season in which he shared time with Marshall Faulk, Jackson will start the season as the top guy this year. In his limited time last season, Jackson ran for 673 yards on 134 carries, an average of 5 yards per attempt.
Those numbers would have been satisfying for many rookie backs, but not Jackson who is hoping that the normally pass-happy Rams offense will make a commitment to him.
The confident Jackson is not scared to let the coaches know when he isn’t getting the ball. So what happens if it’s halftime and Jackson hasn’t gotten the touches he would like to get?
“I wouldn’t wait ‘til halftime to say it,” Jackson said. “I think a lot of people know how I feel about running the ball. I also understand when you have the likes of Torry and Isaac and Kevin and Mac we do want to spread the ball out to those guys too. So you have to be a little selfish and at times you have to be a little giving.”
Of course those times when Jackson is a little selfish are just fine with Martz who said he prefers his skill position players to have that kind of attitude.
“Receivers like to tell you that they want the ball too, that’s just the way it is,” Martz said. “I’d be disappointed if he didn’t do that. That’s what he’s used to and that’s what he wants. That’s what you want in there.”
Does that mean that Martz will balance his offense right down the middle? That remains to be seen, but Martz says No. 39 will play a prominent role in the offense.
Even those receivers, a group that also desires the ball, has no problem with the idea of Jackson getting plenty of touches.
“He loves to throw the football and I’m sure a lot of people are saying you have to show me that you are going to commit to the running game,” receiver Torry Holt said. “I hope he does. Me and Isaac said a couple times on the sideline we really enjoy the running game, it’s fun, it takes a lot of pressure off us on the outside. It gives an opportunity to get involved in the running game and set up the play action. There’s a lot of things that can come off when you have got a good running game. I’m hoping that he commits to Steven. I know Steven would definitely welcome that challenge being the bruiser that he is.”
Jackson clearly isn’t afraid to handle the load if given the opportunity. During the preseason, Jackson had plenty of flashes of dominance. He arrived at training camp in great shape and with zero pain in his formerly-injured knee.
After 32 carries for 215 yards and a touchdown in the preseason, Jackson proved no worse for the wear and sent a resounding message to the league that he is more than ready to be the man.
When asked Thursday about his goals for this season, Jackson said he had plenty for himself and for the team, even saying that 1,500 yards would be “excellent” but that he would want more.
“I have a lot of goals that I haven’t accomplished yet and I plan on starting on that this Sunday,” Jackson said.
Re: Jackson Ready to Carry Load“I hope he does. Me and Isaac said a couple times on the sideline we really enjoy the running game, it’s fun, it takes a lot of pressure off us on the outside. It gives an opportunity to get involved in the running game and set up the play action.
Re: Jackson Ready to Carry LoadThis would be Rumph’s attempt at arm tackling the running back known around Rams Park as “Train.”