Jackson's Workload Increasing
Jackson's Workload Increasing
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
By Nick Wagoner
In the opening days of training camp, running back Steven Jackson’s workload was limited.
After offseason back surgery, Jackson had rehabilitated the back and found himself ready to get back to work in time for the start of camp. But even with Jackson feeling good about his status and expressing no concerns about his back, the Rams wanted to do the smart thing and play it cautious by limiting his repetitions.
“Last week I was taking minimal reps,” Jackson said Wednesday. “I was always doing every drill (but) I wasn’t having a huge work load.”
That has changed this week as Jackson has seemingly settled into a rhythm. Coach Steve Spagnuolo gave Jackson the day off Saturday, including that night’s scrimmage so that he would have an entire 48 hours of rest before practice resumed.
The plan was then to get Jackson more work this week than he had the days prior.
“He’s stepped it up a little bit more this week and that was part of the plan, to get a few more reps and things that we’re doing,” Spagnuolo said. “Steven is Steven. He’s doing a nice job.”
Jackson, along with the coaching staff and head athletic trainer Reggie Scott began piecing together a plan for his camp in the spring and they are now simply following through on it.
According to Jackson, everything is right on pace and going as smooth as can be expected.
“This week we've ramped up my reps, so we're going in the right direction,” Jackson said. “We’re progressively going up hill and to be able make sure I peak at the right time in my training and get ready for the opener, I think everything is going good. Everything is going right to schedule.”
Jackson had the surgery to repair the herniated disc in his back in April. That operation kept him out of the entire offseason program as he was limited to rehab work with the training staff.
Over the summer, Jackson relaxed and gave the back time to heal before he returned to St. Louis. Upon his arrival, Spagnuolo described him as “somewhat cleared” to return to practice with the caveat that the Rams would be cautious with throwing him back into practice right away.
As part of that plan, Spagnuolo said Jackson wouldn’t be part of the many “live” drills that the Rams go through in their fully padded practices.
But while Jackson’s workload is building to a crescendo, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been plenty active in this camp.
In addition to his reps, Jackson has continued his ascent as one of the team’s preeminent leaders, providing guidance to the young backs behind him on the depth chart.
“There's always something that we'll always work on,” Jackson said. “You never perfect your game. I'm just really working on the details of my assignment, actually being able to help some of the younger backs and trying to answer questions for them if (Running Backs) Coach (Sylvester) Croom is not around. So I'm continuing to bang my way out in the play book and treating it as if it’s still year one.”
One other objective for Jackson in this camp is continuing to build on his already strong relationship with fullback Mike Karney. That pair was limited in the preseason last year by Karney’s injury issues and looking to build on a successful first season.
“We hung out a lot during the season,” Jackson said. “We actually got together in the offseason quite a bit so the chemistry is there. It’s one of those things that we’re able to communicate and know what each other is thinking a lot faster and a lot smoother during the course of the year getting to know each other. Repetition and being in the back field together definitely helps for the chemistry and I think we do have that relationship now that we can be each others’ eyes and ears."
With the first preseason contest fast approaching, Jackson isn’t concerned with taking the first hit. He’s been a part of plenty of “thud” tempo drills and taken contact already in this camp.
For his part, Jackson says he doesn’t know if the back is all the way to 100 percent and he isn’t worried about whether it is.
“We will never know actually,” Jackson said. “That’s one of those things that I’m not concerned about it.”
Since taking over as the team’s featured back, Jackson’s preseason workload hasn’t been too strenuous. In recent years, that workload has been scaled back each year.
In the 2009 preseason, Jackson got 11 touches, 10 carries with a reception. Spagnuolo said he and his staff would make a decision on playing time for the opener against the Vikings tonight or tomorrow though it’s relatively certain Jackson’s in game action will be limited.
The overarching idea of the plan for Jackson is to have him ready to roll at as close to full strength as possible in time for the season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona.
“We haven't talked about preseason games or the amount of time that I will play in it. Whatever Coach thinks is going to be best, whatever Reggie Scott thinks is going to be best for me I’m willing to do so,” Jackson said. “I'm treating each practice and every practice as an opportunity to get better and making sure that I'm taking care of my body and I'll be ready to go."
Re: Jackson's Workload Increasing
Good to hear that SJ and Karney have developed a rapport.