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Jackson Ready For Postseason Push
Jackson Ready for Postseason Push
By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
Posted 2 hours ago
As a rookie coming to a team that was coming off a playoff season in 2003, Steven Jackson had high expectations for playing a lot of January football.
In that first season, Jackson and the Rams managed to make it to the playoffs with an 8-8 record, beat Seattle in the wild card round and go on to lose to Atlanta in a Divisional Playoff game.
It was Jackson’s first taste of postseason football in the league. As of today, it was his last.
With the Rams on the brink of potentially breaking through and going back to the postseason should they win their final two games, Jackson is making no bones about the fact that he wants badly to go back.
“I know personally my first year we went to the second round of the playoffs, I thought it would be a year in and year out deal and it hasn’t been so,” Jackson said. “So you just really hope these young guys understand the position they are in and take advantage of it.”
The position the Rams are in is simple: to get to the playoff, win the final two games and the NFC West Division.
That starts this week with Sunday’s showdown against San Francisco at the Edward Jones Dome.
Needless to say, it’s a must win, do or die situation. And with that in mind, Jackson has also made it abundantly clear that for as much as he possibly can, he wants the onus and the load put on him to get the Rams back to the promised land.
“This is a game that we all know in the city and around here is a must win,” Jackson said. “These kind of games, these kind of pressure situations is what I live for. It’s something I thrive in I believe. I have all the confidence in the world in me and the offensive line. I know I can’t do it on my own but when it comes to these situations – let’s go back to old Steven – I think the best player should have the ball.”
With the ***** coming to town, Jackson and the Rams will undoubtedly have another tough task. San Francisco’s run defense is ranked seventh in the league and has made it a point to slow down Jackson by loading the box repeatedly when the teams meet.
Still, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has no qualms with Jackson’s desire to be the bellcow to bring home an important win this or any other week.
“I’m glad to hear that he wants to have a big stake in what happens,” Shurmur said. “Obviously, Steven, when he touches the ball he does good things with it. So he will touch the ball.”
A noted fan of the game who knows the league’s history as well as any player, Jackson views the chance to get back to the postseason as something to savor.
“Absolutely,” Jackson said. “When you talk about great players, some of the great ones that even wore this uniform, they were known for their postseason play more so than their regular season play. That’s something I haven’t really been a part of.”
After years of not even playing meaningful games in December, Jackson is relishing the opportunity that his and his teammates’ hard work has presented.
“It means a lot,” Jackson said. “The offseason training we all go through, the tough training camp, those things now you are starting to see that they are paying off. You feel like you put in hard work and now you get a chance to get to the big dance which you work hard all year long for. It feels good to just play for something else other than personal pride. Having a young team like this you want to help them understand that these things don’t come easy.”
RAMS ON TV: The Rams announced Thursday afternoon that Sunday’s game against the ***** will be televised after they met sellout requirements once again.
The game is set for noon Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome and will be broadcast live locally on KTVI-Fox 2 with Kenny Albert and Darryl Johnston handling the call for Fox.
The Rams got some help from Emerson, which purchased 1,000 tickets to distribute to local Boys and Girls clubs as well as Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
With the sellout requirements met, it means every Rams home regular season game will have been televised this season.
PHILLY FAMILIAR: In the search for depth at running back in the offseason, the Rams brought in San Francisco running back Brian Westbrook for a visit.
Westbrook, of course, spent the first part of his career in Philadelphia where he got to know Spagnuolo when he was an assistant there.
Despite interest from the Rams and a visit to St. Louis, Westbrook opted for San Francisco.
“We did visit with him,” Spagnuolo said. “I’m not going to go back and rehash it. He ended up in San Francisco. He’s done a great job. I wish him the best. I hope he doesn’t do too well this week, but that’s natural. I don’t think I’d be lying in saying that.”
With Frank Gore out for the season with a fractured hip, Westbrook has moved into a more prominent role. Spagnuolo says though Westbrook has some tread on his tires, he still brings a lot to the table.
“He shows those…one play I put on there this morning, he caught a pass that looked all too familiar to me, a little route that he runs, and he took it to the house,” Spagnuolo said. “I obviously think the world of him. I think he’s a terrific player and he’s always dangerous. He’s a real smart football player, blocks well, does everything well, and still can run the rock.”
INJURY REPORT: There were a couple of changes to the injury report including the addition of right tackle Jason Smith as limited on Thursday.
Smith suffered an ankle injury in practice and was held out of a chunk of the work.
“(He) rolled his ankle a little bit,” Spagnuolo said. “I think it was his left ankle, so he went in. They’re icing it down, they X-rayed it. It didn’t look like any problem X-ray-wise, but I’ll have more for you on that tomorrow, so he went limited.”
Defensive end Chris Long was upgraded to limited participation after sitting out Wednesday’s practice with a bruised thigh. He’s expected to be OK for Sunday’s game.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui did not practice as he is still battling ankle soreness.
“What (Head Athletic Trainer) Reggie (Scott) and the doctors are saying is he reinjured it,” Spagnuolo said. “He just didn’t feel good today. He was going to try to go. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow. He’ll truly be day-to-day, but nothing worse. He just had a setback.”
Re: Jackson Ready For Postseason Push
You gotta love SJax' desire to carry the team, and get them pumped up. I just hope the OL can make some room for him to roam.
Re: Jackson Ready For Postseason Push
The thing is, if they load the box to stop Jackson, you have to be able to make them pay for it through the air. That has been an issue for us at times.That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!
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