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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Steven Jackson Enters Big Year ..

    Enters Big Year
    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer
    The official site of the St. Louis Rams - Article

    After a 2007 season that was as difficult for him as it was the team, Steven Jackson has turned his full attention to 2008 and beyond. Upon arrival at this weekend’s minicamp in St. Louis, Jackson has officially embarked on an important year for the team but also for his career. Jackson is now in the final season of his contract and the Rams have made retaining him as one of, if not the, key cog in the offense for years to come.

    Let there be no doubt, Jackson made it clear Saturday that he wants that future to be in St. Louis. “I am pretty sure we will get something done,” Jackson said. “This is definitely where I want to be. I’m playing football. I leave that to my agent and the front office. I think I have been a good person on and off the field so I expect to be rewarded.”

    The Rams and Gary Uberstine, Jackson’s agent, have yet to have any substantial discussions toward re-signing Jackson. But that doesn’t mean it’s not on the immediate agenda for the Rams. Coach Scott Linehan said at the NFL Combine in February that retaining Jackson was one of the team’s top priorities. “It’s important for this franchise,” Linehan said. “It is easier said than done. We are working on that and have had open, quality discussions with that but like you said, with the idea that we have a number of needs and areas we need to address with our team, how you make that contract work and fit it in is all part of it. I have no doubt that will get done. We recognize he is a special player and we know to win next year we are going to need him playing at a high level.”Of course, the Rams have some other negotiations to deal with such as getting top pick Chris Long signed in the near future. But the conversations with Jackson will likely commence in the not so distant future. In the meantime, Jackson is doing his best to return to his breakout 2006 form when he led the league in yards from scrimmage and made his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

    Admittedly, Jackson’s 2007 was a bit of a disappointment coming off his finest pro season. Jackson set a goal of 2,500 total yards for the season and fell well short of it with 1,273 yards. Not that reaching his lofty goal – which would have been a NFL record – would have been easy but countless variables conspired against him in his pursuit of greatness.
    At the top of the list was a variety of nagging injuries that cost him to miss four games and most of another. A groin injury cost Jackson four contests after he played the first three games of the season. In his first game back from that injury against Cleveland on Oct. 28, Jackson appeared to be back to full strength. But a big first quarter was all he could muster as back spasms sent him to the sideline again. Even after his return, though, finding room to run was extremely difficult. Injuries to Jackson weren’t the only ailments keeping him from reaching his standards. The numerous walking wounded on the offensive line made Jackson and quarterback Marc Bulger’s jobs especially difficult.

    So it was with great satisfaction that all of Jackson’s top blockers were at least participating in portions of this weekend’s minicamp. Helping matters is the addition of offensive coordinator Al Saunders, who has had great success in the running game, particularly with Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson in Kansas City. “It is exciting to have Al,” Jackson said. “He has proven himself around the league with different teams. I am more excited about my offensive line coming back. That’s really what I missed. I have been through three or four different offensive coordinators now and we have always been successful offensive numbers wise. But me not having my whole offensive line really hurts so seeing those guys out there together as a unit is what I am really happy about.”

    After taking a little time to recover from the bumps and bruises of his fourth NFL season, Jackson got back to work in hopes that the 2007 slate would be wiped clean and he and the offense could return to prominence. Jackson has been spending plenty of time with his nose in his playbook. Now, Jackson says he plans to use the next couple of months to get that playbook down cold so he can simply go out and play fast without having to think.

    In addition to working out and studying his playbook, the offseason has given Jackson an opportunity to expand his horizons within the league. Jackson spent draft weekend in New York, doing some promotional work for the league and even stopped by the office of Commissioner Roger Goodell.
    In that meeting, Jackson made the case to protect his trademark dreadlocks. The competition committee proposed a ban on the long hair that flows out of a regulation NFL helmet, claiming it would serve to protect players with that hairstyle from injury. Jackson sees it different and explained as much to Goodell.

    “My rebuttal was that if you look at the guys with concussions they don’t have dreadlocks,” Jackson said. “I actually think it takes the blow off the hit. Even from a guy or from the ground, it actually takes a little of the blow off.”
    The NFL has yet to make a ruling one way or another on the dreadlocks but rest assured Jackson made a strong case for he and fellow dread wearers.
    With training camp still a couple of months away, Jackson isn’t quite ready to determine his goals for 2008. One goal that is certainly clear is that he would like to return to the playoffs since he hasn’t been to the postseason since his rookie year.
    Whether or not Jackson sets his individual goals as high as last year remains to be seen, but if nothing else Jackson knows a big season will go a long way toward reaching the postseason and ensuring that his long term future will be in St. Louis. “We all know what happens in a contract year,” Jackson said. “You ball out, so I expect to.”

  2. #2
    Warner4prez Guest

    Re: Steven Jackson Enters Big Year ..

    Love this guy, get him his money.

  3. #3
    Mooselini Guest

    Re: Steven Jackson Enters Big Year ..

    Couldn't have said it better Prez. Jackson is the face of our franchise. He is our franchise player, and we need to keep the guy.

    Sure, he fell short of his goal, but 07 was a tragedy. Not even Adrian Peterson would've stood out behind that line. I don't blame Jackson. He's a great star, and will only improve as our OL improves.

    Jackson will lead us to victories, we do better with him playing.

  4. #4
    The Special One is offline Registered User
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    Re: Steven Jackson Enters Big Year ..

    Gotta love the prospect of S Jax running behind what could be a sensational line, if healthy.

    I hope he's a Ram for years t come.

  5. #5
    St.Louis Ram 56 Guest

    Re: Steven Jackson Enters Big Year ..

    The Rams will do nothing but good things with Jackson on the cusp of this Contract year, This will be his "make it happen" year. His Career wages will be set by his accomplishments in 2008,, so thats nothing but good stuff.

    Damn I'm so Ready for this year, its gonna be great with all the talent we have...I'm already stuff'n to the Washington Fans here,,and I am definately going to be at that game @ FedeX field...

    ARE YOU READY TO ROCK!! Im there baby..

  6. #6
    Keenum's Avatar
    Keenum is offline Registered User
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    Re: Steven Jackson Enters Big Year ..

    We are going to have to pay him a lot, but I think he's going to prove this year that he deserves to be paid as a top RB.

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