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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
    RamWraith is offline Registered User
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    Jackson talks like he's big-time -- let's see him play like it

    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    03/30/2006

    Steven Jackson embodies the challenge facing new coach Scott Linehan, his staff and the entire Rams team in 2006.

    Jackson has obvious talent. Jackson has shown great promise, delivering performances that made him look like a Pro Bowl candidate. His 1,046 yards rushing and 320 yards receiving (on 43 catches) last season tell you he has that potential.

    But injuries, big and small, have nagged him since his arrival in St. Louis and he hasn’t quite put it all together.

    He offers a rare combination of size and speed, with soft hands and some shiftiness as well. He can pop through holes and accelerate into the secondary. He can catch the ball coming out of the backfield and make tacklers miss in space.



    But Jackson also misreads plays, either through a lack of recognition or his foolhardy determination to make something bigger happen. Jackson still does too much east-west running, while upright, when he needs to lower his shoulder and run north and south.

    Does he have the instinctive running ability to become a perennial Pro Bowl back? Does he have the intensity to reach the highest level? Does he have the toughness and durability to be the workhorse back he wants to become?

    We’ll find out this season. Linehan knows how to use power backs -– he had Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams last season in Miami –- and he will give Jackson every chance to advance.

    Let’s see what Steven does with the opportunity.

    His halting progress the last two years sums up the Rams' downturn. This team has brought in a lot of talented young players in the wake of the “Greatest Show on Turf” days.

    Most showed promise. Many got hurt. Few sustained their success over the 16-game haul. Some have been cycled out -– most notably former No. 1 picks Adam Archuleta, Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis -– and others are getting another chance.

    A lot of factors led to the demise of the Martz regime and the restart with Linehan and Co. The team missed on some key free-agent signings, most recently Chris Claiborne. Martz became estranged from the rest of the franchise’s leadership, for one reason or another.

    But the biggest problem -– and the one Linehan’s staff must fix -– was the inability of the Generation Next Rams to reach their full potential.

    Look at the season Leonard Little had at left defensive end, largely owing to off-field issues. Look at the erratic play of Anthony Hargrove at the other end and the inconsistency in the middle, with Pickett, Lewis and Jimmy Kennedy.

    (Pickett wasn’t bad, actually, but he didn’t do enough to justify the free-agent dollars he got from Green Bay. He was solid, but seldom a major difference-maker).

    The battered Archuleta was a shell of his former self at safety. Cornerbacks Jerametrius Butler and Travis Fisher were wiped out by injuries. Pisa Tinoisamoa played his guts out, but overall linebacker issues made grading his play difficult.

    All those young defensive backs shipped in last season showed sporadic promise, but no more.

    On the offensive side of the ball, young offensive linemen Claude Terrell and Alex Barron did good and bad things, as you would expect. Young quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick fell apart after one excellent game in relief.

    Tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, now a veteran, remains an enigma. Sometimes he looks terrific and sometimes you wonder what in the heck he is doing out there.

    So now the challenge is to move the whole group forward. We’ll hear some more grousing about last season -– it was pretty grim, after all -– and we’ll hear lots of enthusiastic chatter about the new regime.

    But the ’06 season will come down to this: Will the Steven Jacksons at Rams Park stay healthy, stay focused and finally max out their potential?

    Or will they fall by the wayside, one by one, and force the coaches to continue overhauling the roster?

    Starting with the preseason opener Aug. 10, we’ll see which of these guys want to talk and which want to play.


  2. #2
    Varg6's Avatar
    Varg6 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Jackson talks like he's big-time -- let's see him play like it

    I'll give him another opportunity, he sure walks the walk, let's see if he can walk the walk...


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  3. #3
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Jackson talks like he's big-time -- let's see him play like it

    Leave him alone! Let the man play with a good line, consistent line, and healthy line. Jeeze. People are hating Jackson but don't care about our line?

  4. #4
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Jackson talks like he's big-time -- let's see him play like it

    Put it this way, Jackson didn't fit the offense of late. So let's see how well he does in the new one. He can say all he wants, Real backs show you or shut up til they do. He hasn't been in the league long enough to say anything. Blame the line ,blame Martz, Blame George Bush while your at it. The rest of the world does. Just show me next year and for now I won't comment on this anymore. And just so you know, I want the guy to gain 2000 yds. Maybe his hair is getting in the way.

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