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NFL: Jackson is the ultimate decoy ..
THE TELEGRAPH, ALTON, ILL. | RON CLEMENTS
Dec. 03--ST. LOUIS -- Steven Jackson is willing to sacrifice some rushing yards for wins.
"Absolutely," the Pro Bowl running back for the St. Louis Rams said Thursday. "At this point I understand that a lot of my role now is to keep a defense honest.
"I'd love to get 100 yards and have a big game, but at the same time, if a defense is that focused on the running game, I think we come out with a win already."
What's helped the Rams go from a 1-15 record last year to a 5-6 mark this season has been the play of rookie quarterback Sam Bradford . The former Heisman Trophy winner became the first person since Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson in 2007 to be named the NFL's offensive rookie of the month in two straight months.
"Rookie MVP," Jackson said of Bradford. "He's putting together a nice season. We have a chance at the postseason, to win the division, and a lot of it has to do with his play."
The Rams played just three games in November because of a bye week, but in those games, Bradford completed 79 of 121 passes for 792 yards with six touchdown passes and only one interception for a passer rating of 96.8. He also set an NFL rookie record of 169 consecutive pass attempts without an interception.
"When you have a quarterback that can execute, then (defenses) obviously have to be willing to defend the pass," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "Run and pass go hand-in-hand. Sam's success playing quarterback is a big key to having success, but we have to be able to run the football."
Shurmur said last Sunday's 36-33 win over Denver was probably the most balanced the Rams offense has been this season. The Rams had 37 pass plays and 35 rush attempts.
Jackson had just 72 yards on 29 carries, and average of only 2.5 yards per attempt. He has a 3.8 yards-per-carry average on the season. Shurmur said Jackson continues to run hard, but the offense needs to "do a better job of getting yardage" on the ground.
Jackson doesn't mind being a decoy as long as it leads to points, citing a touchdown pass to a wide-open Billy Bajema against Denver as an example.
"Last week the big play to Billy was a run-action and he was wide open," Jackson said. "You have those plays because of the respect of the running game."
Jackson's 873 rushing yards rank 10th in the NFL. He said he is the "freshest" he's been in three years this late in the season. With only 117 yards to go, he'll have his sixth straight 1,000-yard season.
"I'm a little off pace from where I want to be, personally, but I'm very proud of that," he said. "Thousand-yard seasons, no matter how they come, are very impressive."
Jackson did not have his normal lead blocker on the field in Denver. Jackson said he was "very disappointed" when fullback Mike Karney, Jackson's best friend, was inactive for the game. Karney was limited in Thursday's practice with a groin injury.
"Due to circumstances, someone has to sacrifice," Jackson said. "It was unfortunate that Mike was that guy last Sunday. Hopefully we can get him back on the field as soon as possible."
Shurmur said the decision was not performance-based.
"The roster is dynamic and changes each week," Shurmur said. "When Mike's up and playing, he does a great job."
Shurmur said there are more one-back sets in the NFL, but the Rams will still use two backs. Jackson said part of the reason St. Louis is using more "ace" sets has been more creativity in the offensive game plan because of Bradford. But because of the mindset of head coach Steve Spagnuolo, Jackson doesn't expect the offense to change too much.
"I hope so, or else I'm in trouble next," Jackson quipped.
After just six combined victories in the three previous seasons, Jackson said the Rams are having fun this year as they sit atop the NFC West.
"It feels good to play football at this level and play games in December that mean something," Jackson said. "It's something that I'm looking forward to. Games are going to get bigger as the weeks go on.
"But you have to win each game for them to get bigger. I think everyone's looking forward to the challenge. The locker room feels great right now."
That doesn't mean Jackson whooped it up on the plane ride back from Denver.
"I was asleep," Jackson admitted. "I had a pretty beat-up day. I was licking my wounds.
"But whenever you can get a road win like that, respond back from 10-0 to take a commanding lead like we did, to hold off that last surge, it's a very impressive win for us. It's something we can build off of."
NOTES: Captains for Sunday's game at Arizona are RB Steven Jackson , S Oshiomogho Atogwe, DT Gary Gibson and LB Chris Chamberlain. Not practicing Thursday was TE Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle). Also limited were CB Jerome Murphy (hamstring) and DT Darell Scott (foot). CB Justin King has been dealing with cramps the last couple of weeks and defensive coordinator Ken Flajole is hoping to have that issue resolved by Sunday.
Even though the Civil War game between Oregon State and Oregon is this weekend, Jackson -- an Oregon State alum -- said there's no friendly animosity this week between he and QB A.J. Feeley, who went to Oregon. "I talk to him. He's my teammate," Jackson said.
But with just the mention of the Civil War, Jackson shouted "Oregon State, man. Oregon State."
Jackson just doesn't want Feeley to make a wager on the game, because Jackson will feel obligated to take it even though he's skeptical that his 5-6 Beavers can knock off the undefeated and top-ranked Ducks.
-12-05-2010 #2Registered User
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Re: NFL: Jackson is the ultimate decoy ..
Jax is a class act. So many stars in the NFL want to get their numbers despite what is best for the team. Glad to have a team full of team players.
Re: NFL: Jackson is the ultimate decoy ..
And some ram fans want to trade him???
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