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  1. #1
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    Arrow Jackson's absence irritates Martz

    By Bill Coats - Post Dispatch

    For those who think that first-round draft pick Steven Jackson is going to waltz into a position as the Rams' No. 1A running back, nipping at Marshall Faulk's heels, coach Mike Martz has a message for you:

    Think again.

    "To think that any back is going to come in and alternate with a guy who's been an MVP and is headed for the Hall of Fame, . . . without ever doing anything, is just insane," Martz said Wednesday, six days before players report to Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., for training camp. "He missed all of spring, and then he was supposed to be here this (past) weekend and didn't show up. So, we're just going to move on."

    Jackson, a 6-foot-3, 233-pound Oregon State product, is unsigned and clearly not on Martz's good side at the moment. Jackson attended the team's rookie camp, but under NFL rules had to skip the three-day full-squad session in May because Oregon State's senior class had yet to graduate. Martz didn't elaborate on why Jackson was expected at Rams Park last weekend. Attempts on Wednesday to reach Jackson's agent, St. Louis-based Rocky Arceneaux, were unsuccessful.

    Jackson's status is significant because Faulk, 31, has endured a succession of knee problems. Faulk, the league's MVP and offensive player of the year in 2000, hasn't made it through a full season unscathed since 1999, the year the Rams won the Super Bowl. During that span, he has been sidelined for 11 regular-season contests, although a broken hand, not a knee problem, cost him five games last season. In 2003, Faulk appeared in 11 games and rushed for 818 yards, the second-lowest total of his 10-year career.

    There even has been speculation that if his knee doesn't respond fully after another offseason operation, a frustrated Faulk might consider retirement. While Martz acknowledged that he was "a little bit" concerned about Faulk's health, he was quick to put his apprehension in perspective.

    "I'm less concerned probably this year than I was the last two years," said Martz, who will be entering his fifth season as head coach. "I know that he's come in the last two years probably about 70 percent. Last year, his knee was awful, and we tried to kind of get by. ...

    "He's much further along physically than he has been the last few seasons, and yet he's not 100 percent by any stretch. He's probably 85 to 90 percent. Over the next month or so, we're going to try to get him as close to (100 percent) as possible."

    Asked whether Faulk might never again be at full capacity, Martz said: "I suppose that's possible. But Marshall at 95 percent is probably better than anybody else in the league."

    Jackson, who turns 21 today, was widely deemed better than anybody else among the running backs available in the draft. He led the Pacific 10 Conference in rushing yards (1,545), all-purpose yards (2,015) and points (132) last year as a junior. In three seasons, he piled up 3,625 rushing yards and 680 receiving yards on 66 catches.

    On draft day, Jackson described his game as "gumbo."

    "It means that I can catch, block and run, the three things you need to be able to do in the National Football League," he said. "I bring a lot of stuff to the table."

    The Rams traded up two spots to snatch him with the 24th overall selection. "We all have goose bumps, to add this type of talent to our offense," Martz said then.

    How long it takes Jackson to absorb the Rams' multifaceted offense is the question now, and Martz isn't optimistic that it will be any time soon.

    Jackson is listed behind Faulk, Lamar Gordon and even Arlen Harris, who is being moved to fullback, on the depth chart. "He's going to come in as the fourth back," Martz said. "And if he's better than our third back, then he'll move up. If he's better than No. 2, he'll move up there. ...

    "He's so far behind right now, whatever he can do is a bonus," Martz said. "If he can catch up, God bless him. ... All that glitz and glamour of being the No. 1 guy, he's going to have to shake that off and go to work. Whatever he does on this football team, he's doing to earn every inch of it. Nothing's going to be given to him."


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Jackson's absence irritates Martz

    Was it not Martz himself that hinted at the idea of creating two-back sets to specifically feature both Jackson and Faulk in the backfield? I understand and even share frustration if Jackson was supposed to be in Rams Park and never showed, but it strikes me as odd that Martz would discredit the idea of Jackson seeing significant time or having a strong role this season when some of his own comments -- if my memory serves me well -- seemed to implicate just that.

    Oh well, hopefully it all gets straightened out very soon.
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    Re: Jackson's absence irritates Martz

    I dont have a problem with this article.
    Martz is just saying what everyone else with a football mind is thinking. How the hell does a guy expect to come in and start forthe Rams.

    What a lot of people forget is how many NFL players have struggled with the Ram playbook. Its not a colouring in book you know, its a times crossword and to play for the Rams, we expect you to finish it pronto.


  4. #4
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    Re: Jackson's absence irritates Martz

    Nothing more than a negotiations ploy. If he's not signed, then how is he suppose to attend anything ?? From earlier reports he's been working out out at Rams park since the end of June, with Torry too no less. Martz needs to give him a ton of work to, " work up from the number four back", and wants him in camp from day one. Camp is six days away and maybe Jay is and his agent are a bit off in their proposals ?? Using the media to send a message to Mr. Jackson, can put a sense of urgency for him to push his agent to get a deal done. Just my two cents, ok two & 1/2. Martz needs him in camp, and Jackson needs all the work he can get.


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  5. #5
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    Re: Jackson's absence irritates Martz

    I hope we get this sorted quickly, We need his help to lift the running game.

  6. #6
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    Re: Jackson's absence irritates Martz

    Just a little public negotiation management. Today or tomorrow, we'll hear about how excited Jackson is to get to camp, and how he wants a deal done. Then he'll sign, go to camp & get to work. I'm not going to worry about it.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Jackson's absence irritates Martz

    Mike Martz, please, just shut the ______ up!!!


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    According to Bernie...

    "There is no beef.
    No controversy, either.

    This is typical NFL stuff between a coach and rookie.

    Jackson has been in STL quite a bit, and it got back to Martz (through some of the veteran players) that Jackson was acting a bit ****y. Martz is just trying to make sure the rookie is hungry when he gets to training camp. Just an ego check. Ain't a thing wrong with that.

    Cheers,
    Bernie"
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    Re: Jackson's absence irritates Martz

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferter
    Mike Martz, please, just shut the ______ up!!!


    :ramlogo:
    Ram Fans
    whiners
    idiots

    ????


    I give up, what is supposed to be in that blank then Ferter :tongue:


  10. #10
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    Re: Jackson's absence irritates Martz

    Jackson is listed behind Faulk, Lamar Gordon and even Arlen Harris, who is being moved to fullback, on the depth chart. "He's going to come in as the fourth back," Martz said. "And if he's better than our third back, then he'll move up. If he's better than No. 2, he'll move up there. ...

    Hmmm, sounds to me like he's keeping an open mind with Jackson. He hasn't thrown him in the doghouse or anything.

    "To think that any back is going to come in and alternate with a guy who's been an MVP and is headed for the Hall of Fame, . . . without ever doing anything, is just insane," Martz said Wednesday, six days before players report to Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., for training camp. "He missed all of spring, and then he was supposed to be here this (past) weekend and didn't show up. So, we're just going to move on."

    Again, it's just me, but it sounded like he was more defending Faulk than slamming Jackson. This is where the fans that hate Martz don't get it. He always protects his players that have earned that right. The Rams players love playing for this guy.

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