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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Limited action bothers Jackson

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/08/2005



    When asked Monday if Steven Jackson was getting frustrated over his lack of carries in recent games, interim head coach Joe Vitt replied: "You'll have to ask him. I didn't have office hours today."

    In other words, Vitt isn't ready to become a gridiron psychiatrist. If he were, Vitt would've gotten an earful from the Rams running back Thursday.

    During a five-minute meeting with reporters Thursday, Jackson was asked if he had made his feelings known about getting more carries to Vitt, offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild or running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery

    "I haven't, but you can," Jackson told reporters. "Give me the ball."

    Saying all he had to say, Jackson then turned his back to finish dressing for practice. So it is clear that Jackson's frustration is mounting.

    He carried only 12 times for six yards Nov. 20, in the Rams' 38-28 loss to Arizona. Things went better in Houston the following week, when he had 25 carries and gained 110 yards against the Texans. But last week in a 24-9 loss to Washington, Jackson got only 11 carries for 24 yards.

    On Monday, Vitt stressed the importance of balancing the offense. But it sounds as if Jackson will believe it when he sees it.

    "Week in and week out, you hear it, I hear it," Jackson said earlier during Thursday's media session.

    Then he added with some skepticism, "So we'll see what happens comes Sunday."

    Minnesota is ranked 18th in the league in rushing defense and 22nd in the league in rushing yards allowed per carry. That's where Washington was ranked in both categories before holding Jackson and Marshall Faulk to a combined 27 yards on 12 carries Sunday.

    "Defensive coordinators these past few weeks have been scheming against us pretty well," Jackson said. "You have your third-string quarterback in (Ryan Fitzpatrick). Against Jacksonville, I showed I could carry the team on my back when needed. So most teams are going to gear to stop the run and make us pass. So defensive coordinators are doing a great job."

    Jackson expects Minnesota to try the same tactics as Arizona, Houston, and Washington: Stack the line with eight defenders in the box to stop the run, and mix in a heavy dose of blitzing.

    "Why not make Fitzpatrick win the game?" Jackson said, speaking for opposing defensive coordinators. "I feel, and I think (opponents) know, that if left to me, I'm going to do my part, and I'm going to help us win. So I would put eight, nine guys up in the box to stop the run, and make the young guy (beat us)."

    With Jamie Martin at quarterback against Jacksonville, and with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce sidelined with injuries, Jackson rushed for a career-high 179 yards.

    The Rams were a picture of balance in victories over Jacksonville and New Orleans in late October, with 60 rushing attempts and 53 pass plays called with Martin at quarterback. But that hasn't been the case the past three weeks: 135 passing plays called (some of which resulted in scrambles or sacks) vs. 50 running plays.

    Jackson was particularly frustrated after the loss to Washington - a game in which the Rams trailed only 10-7 entering the fourth quarter, and in theory could afford to be patient with the running game.

    "When you lose like that," Jackson said. "I felt that we were in the game pretty much the whole time. ... I wasn't really able to be a factor in the game. It can be kind of frustrating. No one likes to lose. Especially when you still had hopes of making the playoffs."

    During the course of a game, Jackson says he doesn't get too hung up on his workload.

    "At that point in time, you're not worrying about why things are going the way they are," he said. "You're just hoping that something happens and something breaks out. At that point, you're not worried about carries or yardage; you're worried about getting the win. Especially when they're moving the ball, and making long drives down the field, and time was running out."

    But Jackson obviously feels he can make a difference, and the numbers bear him out. According to STATS, Inc., Jackson is tied for fifth in the NFL in broken tackles, which indicates an ability to make something out of nothing. But he also ranks sixth in the NFL in rushes of 20 or more yards, which indicates that Jackson's a big-play threat.

    Almost lost in the discussion about Jackson's workload is the fact that Faulk has all but disappeared from the offense over the past three games. Against Arizona, Houston, and Washington, Faulk has a not-so-grand total of four touches: two receptions and two carries.

    Could more touches for Faulk help the Rams win more games?

    "Not unless he's got wings and can fly," Vitt said earlier in the week. "There's got to be a running lane. There's got to be somewhere to run the football. If there is, Steven will find it. There was no running lane (against Washington). None. None."

    For his part, Jackson mildly disagreed with the notion that there was no running room against the Redskins.

    "Sometimes there was; sometimes there wasn't," Jackson said. "It's not all on the offensive line. I know they're taking a lot of heat right now."


  2. #2
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    Re: Limited action bothers Jackson

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    According to STATS, Inc., Jackson is tied for fifth in the NFL in broken tackles, which indicates an ability to make something out of nothing. But he also ranks sixth in the NFL in rushes of 20 or more yards, which indicates that Jackson's a big-play threat.
    wow this is interesting I had been hearing that he couldn't break tackles on this board, guess that wasn't exactly correct.

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    Re: Limited action bothers Jackson

    Most of those broken tackles come later in the game though. He doesnt break as many early in the game, because Fairchild obviously thinks that Jackson is wearing the #28, and so he runs a lot of tosses and sweeps
    The Roman and The Prince. Playmakers until the end.


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    Re: Limited action bothers Jackson

    yeah jackson is definitely a north to south runner
    shows you that fairchild is a .......(fill in the blanks)

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    Re: Limited action bothers Jackson

    The lack of running game bothers me too, but there seems to be no point in talking about it. I thought it was Martz who was in love with the passing game, but Fairchild is doing a fine job of calling lopsided offensive plays without Martz being there.

    I hate reading these quotes from Vitt about the offense. He does not seem to see any possibilities.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6
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    Re: Limited action bothers Jackson

    Quote Originally Posted by serkicker32
    wow this is interesting I had been hearing that he couldn't break tackles on this board, guess that wasn't exactly correct.
    Just another example of perception losing out to reality. But don't expect Jackson's critics to yield any ground.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Limited action bothers Jackson

    This SJ is good bot not as good as he thinks he is. He has to make hole when there is not one, to me he has the size but not the will. He need to flat out run over people not tap dance looking for the cut back. You want the ball make people pay when you get it!

  8. #8
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    Re: Limited action bothers Jackson

    Jackson seems to need a good block to open a hole for him. Once he gets the hole open, he can make a good run as long as he has the chance to square up his shoulders and get up some speed.
    I see a problem here. If he's wanting to play and they don't let him carry the ball, he may look elsewhere for the opportunity. He will be a big-name RB in the near future, but unless we begin to satisfy the desire to carry the ball, he might be doing it in a different uniform.

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    Re: Limited action bothers Jackson

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos
    He has to make hole when there is not one, to me he has the size but not the will. He need to flat out run over people not tap dance looking for the cut back.
    Apparently being fifth in broken tackles doesn't show Jackson's trying to make something happen when nothing's there. Hmm.

    I'm not saying Jackson hasn't made his mistakes or doesn't have room to grow. But it should be clear by now that the Rams aren't playing to Steven Jackson's strengths as a runner, for whatever reason. Jackson isn't exactly Jerome Bettis or Mike Alstott, but he's not Warrick Dunn or Willie Parker either.

    When you are running outside, you can't just run forward and pound ahead; those are plays where you have to have blocking in front of you. You don't call a sweep and have your RB run to the outside before any of your blockers get there.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Limited action bothers Jackson

    The houston game shows how the rams do when they run the ball. Ya they won it in OT but they did better than against Washington and Arizona. I think if they give him the ball more he won't try to turn every run into a TD.

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