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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson Makes His Mark

    St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson makes his mark

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/04/2009

    A day later than usual because of the bye week, the Rams looked at game film of Sunday's 17-10 triumph over Detroit. Take it from center Jason Brown, when it came to watching running back Steven Jackson, it was like watching a video game.

    "You know on video games where they have the special moves?" Brown said. "You can hit the 'turbo' button. You can hit the 'spin' button. You can hit the 'juke' button. Well, Steven has all of those buttons. And when you think that that juice is about to run out, he will continue to surprise you."

    Jackson had 149 yards worth of surprises against the Lions, the last 25 of which came on the game-winning touchdown at Ford Field. With the help of his blockers, Jackson was a human video game against Detroit. And Brown missed one button in his description: the "bam" button. Jackson bounced off tacklers like a pinball or ran over them.

    "Seventeen games is a long time," Jackson said, referring to the Rams' losing streak before Sunday's victory. "And that game was too close to let get away. I was willing to just give my all. If I would have fell down in that end zone, it would've been worth it. I was willing to give everything I had to make sure we won the game."

    Brown says quarterback Marc Bulger helped stoke that competitive fire in the huddle at the start of that game-winning drive.

    "It started with Bulger," Brown said. "He was stroking Steven's ego a little out there. He said, 'Hey guys, you've got the best running back in the league. You all do your job, he's definitely going to do his job.'

    "And you know what? That last drive we just kept pounding the rock."

    These days, few in the NFL pound the rock as well as Jackson. At the midpoint of the 2009 season, he's tied for the NFC rushing lead with Minnesota's Adrian Peterson with 784 yards. And he's tied for second overall in the NFL, trailing only Tennessee's Chris Johnson, who has 824 yards.

    Add his 186 receiving yards, and Jackson trails Peterson by a scant 3 yards 973 to 970 for the NFL lead in yards from scrimmage. There can be no doubting that he's at or near the top of the NFL pecking order at running back.

    "He's a premier back," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

    Even in the throes of a 1-7 season in St. Louis, Jackson seems to be earning respect nationwide. One such sign came at halftime of "Monday Night Football," when ESPN's Chris Berman awarded Jackson his weekly "game ball."

    It's not as if getting a "game ball" from a studio host equates to a lifetime achievement award. But it did show that on a weekend full of highlights and big performances around the NFL, Jackson's work is being duly noted.

    "It's meaningful," Jackson said. "But we still have a lot of work to do around here. We want to be a winning organization. We don't want to get kudos sparingly. We want that to continue to happen week in and week out. And not only focus on what we're doing as an individual; we want to focus as a team. Because we have some talented guys around here. We've just got to grow up. We're a team that's learning how to win."

    Jackson, at 26, has done some growing up himself. With so many new faces on the roster this season, and so many old leaders gone, Jackson wanted to show he was a leader in 2009. His leadership resonates throughout the locker room.

    "He's a guy that I've always had a lot of respect for," tight end Daniel Fells said. "I know as a team, we look up to him. He is the leader of this team."

    That leadership shows itself in many ways:

    In Jackson's frequent compliments directed toward the offensive line or fullback Mike Karney.

    In the way he bought in to the Spagnuolo regime from its first day.

    In his refusal to complain about or criticize the state of affairs at Rams Park in the midst of an agonizing 0-7 start.

    "When you've played for five different men, you get tired of starting over," Jackson said. "So I'm kind of at the point now where we're going to make this work. And we're going to make it work now. ... I'm welcoming the challenge of helping to turn this organization around."

    The five men Jackson was referring to are former Rams head coaches Mike Martz and Scott Linehan, interim head coaches Joe Vitt and Jim Haslett, and Spagnuolo.

    But even Jackson concedes there are times when the less mature side of him wants to come out, like during his sideline conversation with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur late in the third quarter in Detroit.

    "Well, that was the old classic I guess, the younger Steven," Jackson said, laughing. "Not speaking third person, but I just told him don't forget I was in the backfield."

    Shurmur didn't. Neither did the Lions.


  2. #2
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson Makes His Mark

    Brown says quarterback Marc Bulger helped stoke that competitive fire in the huddle at the start of that game-winning drive.

    "It started with Bulger," Brown said. "He was stroking Steven's ego a little out there. He said, 'Hey guys, you've got the best running back in the league. You all do your job, he's definitely going to do his job.'

    "And you know what? That last drive we just kept pounding the rock."
    What do you know, inspiring leadership on the field of play, without any yelling or screaming.

  3. #3
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    Re: St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson Makes His Mark

    Wait...I thought you had to throw chairs to be a leader?

  4. #4
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    Re: St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson Makes His Mark

    But even Jackson concedes there are times when the less mature side of him wants to come out, like during his sideline conversation with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur late in the third quarter in Detroit.

    "Well, that was the old classic I guess, the younger Steven," Jackson said, laughing. "Not speaking third person, but I just told him don't forget I was in the backfield."

    Shurmur didn't. Neither did the Lions.
    Now sometimes players get criticised for demanding the ball, especially if they go about it the wrong way. But to be quite honest, someone had to go and say something to Shurmur about getting the ball in Jackson's hands. The amount of times we have got in the redzone and then used stupid pass happy tactics which have resulted in nothing is ridiculous. Just give it to Jackson and let him run over people.

  5. #5
    01d 0rd3r's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson Makes His Mark

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post

    "Well, that was the old classic I guess, the younger Steven," Jackson said, laughing. "Not speaking third person, but I just told him don't forget I was in the backfield."
    Funny, everyone on this board was screaming the same thing.

  6. #6
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson Makes His Mark

    But even Jackson concedes there are times when the less mature side of him wants to come out, like during his sideline conversation with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur late in the third quarter in Detroit.

    "Well, that was the old classic I guess, the younger Steven," Jackson said, laughing. "Not speaking third person, but I just told him don't forget I was in the backfield."

    Shurmur didn't. Neither did the Lions.
    What does this say about Shurmur? I just don't get a good feeling about him.

  7. #7
    Alec22's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson Makes His Mark

    Just dont forget you got the best rb in the nfl on your team...thats all im saying oc!

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