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Jackson lives up to his draft slot in opener of the exhibition season

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  • Jackson lives up to his draft slot in opener of the exhibition season

    Jackson lives up to his draft slot in opener of the exhibition season
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    MACOMB, Ill. - They're not casting his bust just yet in Canton, Ohio. But there was a reason Steven Jackson was the first running back selected in the 2004 draft. And he provided some clues with a strong performance in Thursday's exhibition game against Chicago.

    Even though the Rams lost 13-10 in overtime, Jackson didn't disappoint. He carried 15 times for 73 yards, averaging 4.9 yards a carry. Throw in his four catches for 18 yards, and Jackson had 91 yards from scrimmage - the top total by any player on either team.

    "I'm extremely pleased with my effort, and the things that the offensive line created for me to do," Jackson said.

    Nineteen "touches" - the 15 carries, plus the four catches - is a substantial workload for anybody during the preseason when rosters are bloated with third- and fourth-stringers.

    "I kind of looked forward to it," Jackson said. "I knew Marshall (Faulk) wasn't going to go. Lamar (Gordon) is down right now, so I kind of knew I was going to be taking a heavy load.

    "I know that I had a couple miscues that I need to clean up. For the most part I felt pretty comfortable, and more relaxed than I have the whole camp."

    Jackson might have approached 100 yards rushing had he not stumbled to the ground on his longest gain of the night - an 18-yard carry in the third quarter that could have gone much farther.

    "It shows that your legs are a little tired from camp," Jackson said. "But I've got to freshen up. I've got to run through that. Who knows? That could've been the play that helped win the game."

    Jackson could be in for a heavy workload Aug. 23 in Kansas City, the Rams' next preseason game. Gordon will be sidelined for about three more weeks after ankle surgery. Arlen Harris' status is uncertain after Harris suffered a concussion after just four carries against Chicago. That leaves Marshall Faulk and ... Dusty McGrorty as the only other running back possibilities. McGrorty, an undrafted free agent, did not get any carries against Chicago.

    As for Faulk, coach Mike Martz is considering playing him against the Chiefs, but normally likes to wait until the third preseason game before using Faulk in August.

    Bulger's night

    Did quarterback Marc Bulger get enough work against the Bears?

    "It's never enough," Bulger said. "But that's what you expect coming into the first preseason game. We got a good combination of red zone (work), drop-back passes, play-action passes, some runs. For the first game, I think we were happy to get that much accomplished."

    Bulger was in for only the Rams' first series - a 12-play, 64-yard drive culminating in a 33-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins.

    Bulger completed three of six passes for 57 yards, with Isaac Bruce catching two of those balls for 43 yards. Entering his 11th NFL season, Bruce looks as frisky as ever.

    "Isaac can do special things," Bulger said. "He gets in and out of routes so quick. If you get him going during a drive, there's none better in the league."

    Mr. August he's not

    Thursday's loss was the eighth in the Rams' last nine preseason games, dating back to the start of the 2002 exhibition season. Under Martz, the Rams are 6-12 overall in the preseason.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Jackson lives up to his draft slot in opener of the exhibition season

    First of all, the record of wins during the REAL season is much more important than during the preseason. I think we can all agree to that. The Rams are one team that doesn't put any emphasis on winning during the preseason. We just use those games as a means to get ready for the season and take a look at new players.

    I was very pleased to see how well Jackson fit in right out of the gate. Our recruiters have done a good job aiming our draft intentions at guys that make can make a smooth transition from college to pro. Archuleta and Tinoisamoa are two examples. Let's hope this trend continues.


    • #3
      Re: Jackson lives up to his draft slot in opener of the exhibition season

      As for Faulk, coach Mike Martz is considering playing him against the Chiefs, but normally likes to wait until the third preseason game before using Faulk in August.
      I wouldn't mind seeing Faulk in for a series or two. The Rams have 11 days of rest before the next game, though, so hopefully Harris will be back. Hell, why not run Goodspeed a few times?


      • #4
        Re: Jackson lives up to his draft slot in opener of the exhibition season

        Originally posted by RamDez
        Jackson could be in for a heavy workload Aug. 23 in Kansas City, the Rams' next preseason game.
        Considering the Giants running backs averaged over seven yards a carry against Kansas City last night, I'm very excited to see how Jackson, and even Faulk if they put him in for a series or two, will do against them.


        • #5
          Re: Jackson lives up to his draft slot in opener of the exhibition season

          Originally posted by NickSeiler
          Considering the Giants running backs averaged over seven yards a carry against Kansas City last night, I'm very excited to see how Jackson, and even Faulk if they put him in for a series or two, will do against them.
          I agree. Ron Dayne himself had over 100 yards on only 11 carries. That's Ron Dayne, people. Yeah, this guy:

          Ron freakin' Dayne.
          So far it looks like good ol' Gunther Cunningham hasn't done much to shore up that defense.


          Related Topics


          • RamDez
            Multiple Options at RB
            by RamDez
            Multiple Options at RB
            Friday, September 3, 2004

            By Nick Wagoner
            Staff Writer

            It might not be safe to call it an embarrassment of riches just yet, but the Rams’ depth at running back appears to be headed in that direction.

            After what coach Mike Martz called a disappointing effort running the ball last season, the emphasis has been increased. When the Rams have been at their best, they have had the best of both worlds, throwing and running the ball with equal aplomb. To prove its point, St. Louis ran the ball 45 times against Oakland on Thursday night.

            “I am very pleased with the way we have run the ball the last few weeks,” Martz said. “It didn’t make any difference who was in there. To run the football well, was a big deal to me in the offseason. We were not a productive team (last year) running the football. We have to get back to doing some of the things that are basic for this offense.”

            St. Louis has four tailbacks that got their share of repetitions in the preseason, each coming away with varying success, but also proving they have what it takes to be anywhere from solid to great in the league. The group was led by future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.

            Faulk played in limited snaps in three of the four preseason games, but that was solely in an effort to get him the ball a few times and help his preparation for the regular season. In limited action, Faulk show the burst and pass-catching ability that has made him one of the game’s all-time greats.

            There has been, perhaps, no bigger star in the preseason for the Rams than rookie Steven Jackson. Jackson has ripped off big gains using his speed, bulled his way to first downs with his powerful burst and flashed soft hands in catching passes out of the backfield. Jackson was the team’s workhorse in each of the first three preseason games before taking on a lighter load Thursday night against Oakland. The lighter load did not equal less production, though. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Jackson carried 12 times for 72 yards, his most efficient performance.

            Jackson’s official coming-out party came against Washington in the third game, a game in which he carried 25 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. Jackson has shown what he can do physically, but still has the occasional mental lapse.
            Martz said he tried to work Jackson as much as possible in the preseason to get him ready for the regular season grind.

            “You look at Steven in that game when he got tired, mentally,” Martz said. “We did that to him on purpose. And now you get a guy that is used to carrying the load when he is exhausted.”

            Lamar Gordon missed most of the preseason after having surgery to remove bone chips in his ankle. The injury plagued Gordon since his junior year at North Dakota State. Gordon played pain-free for the first time in Thursday night’s loss to Oakland and took
            -09-04-2004, 01:57 AM
          • RamWraith
            Jackson is playing key rushing role
            by RamWraith
            By Bill Coats
            Of the Post-Dispatch
            Tuesday, Oct. 19 2004

            When Rams running back Marshall Faulk bulled into the end zone from the 1-yard
            line in the second quarter Monday night, it marked the 100th rushing touchdown
            of his 11-year NFL career.

            That's 99 more than rookie Steven Jackson has recorded. But despite that
            disparity, Jackson more and more is becoming an important contributor to the
            team's attack, as he and Faulk increasingly share time in the backfield.

            "Coach (Mike) Martz and his staff are doing a great job in involving me in the
            offense," Jackson said after the Rams turned aside Tampa Bay 28-21 at the
            sold-out Edward Jones Dome. "They want to utilize my talent, so every
            opportunity I get out there, I try to make something happen."

            Faulk and Jackson split the ball-carrying duties virtually down the middle
            against the Buccaneers. Faulk had 15 attempts for 40 yards, and Jackson carried
            13 times for 48 yards. Each also had three receptions, Faulk picking up 29
            yards and Jackson 30.

            Jackson rambled 28 yards with a short pass on a third-and-14 play early in the
            fourth quarter that kept the Rams' game-winning drive alive. The play took them
            to the Tampa Bay 42-yard line, and three plays later quarterback Marc Bulger
            connected with wide receiver Torry Holt for a 36-yard touchdown and a 28-21

            "We needed the drive to keep going," Jackson said. "I caught the ball, I saw
            the yardstick, and I knew I had quite a ways to go. I just had to make a hard
            run out of it."

            Jackson had 10 carries for 46 yards two weeks ago in the Rams' 24-14 victory in
            San Francisco. Last week in Seattle, he tacked on 64 more yards on five
            attempts as the Rams rallied for a 33-27 overtime win.

            "I feel like a guy who's contributing, helping this team win, and the more I
            get in there, the more plays I can make," said Jackson, the team's first-round
            draft pick in April. "If you have to share time, I wouldn't pick any other guy
            in the National Football League."

            Faulk has served as a low-key mentor for Jackson, an Oregon State product.
            "It's on-the-job training," Jackson said. "If I make a mistake, he coaches me
            up. But he doesn't over-teach me. He lets me go out there and do what I know
            how to do."

            Fullback Joey Goodspeed said he's seen Jackson's confidence building over time.
            "He knows what he's doing, and he's a lot more aggressive," Goodspeed said.
            "Steven brings that youth and excitement, and he gives Marshall a break; you're
            able to keep two running backs fresh. And they're both different runners....
            -10-19-2004, 02:11 PM
          • RamWraith
            Jackson sets sights on 2,500 total yards
            by RamWraith
            By Bill Coats
            Friday, Jun. 08 2007

            First, he took Marshall Faulk's job. Now, Rams running back Steven Jackson is
            going after Faulk's records.

            "My goal is 2,500 total yards from scrimmage," Jackson said Thursday. "And how
            I get it doesn't matter. But I want to get to that number."

            If he does, Jackson would replace Faulk as the NFL's single-season
            record-holder. Faulk piled up 2,429 yards in 1999 — 1,381 rushing, 1,048
            receiving — a season that culminated with a Rams Super Bowl championship.

            Only Faulk, Tiki Barber (2,390 in 2005), LaDainian Tomlinson (2,370 in 2003),
            and Barry Sanders (2,358 in 1997) have topped the 2,334 yards that Jackson
            amassed last year.

            "Some people may feel that I'm reaching," Jackson said of shooting for 2,500.
            "But I believe goals are to be set, and then you just go after them."

            Jackson fell slightly short of his goal of 1,600 rushing yards in 2006, but he
            supplemented his 1,528 yards by catching 90 passes for 806 yards. The breakout
            season earned Jackson a Pro Bowl selection in just his third year after the
            Rams drafted him in the first round

            (No. 24 overall) out of Oregon State.

            "Once Marshall was unable to play last year, I thought Steven took full
            advantage of the added opportunity and showed everybody why he was a No. 1
            draft pick," coach Scott Linehan said. "He proved a lot to a lot more people
            than just his coaches and teammates. He's one of those guys that teams have to
            try to find a way to stop."

            Although his numbers had been declining, Faulk remained the Rams' primary back
            when Jackson arrived. Their relationship was cordial, if not overly friendly.
            Jackson bided his time edgily.

            "For quite a long time, I kept pleading my case, saying that I believe in my
            own capabilities," he said. "I thought since Day 1 I could be a top back in
            this league. I felt last year was the first time I had that chance to ... state
            my case."

            Jackson, who will turn 24 next month, rushed for 673 yards and had 19
            receptions for 189 yards as a rookie. Faulk, who had cemented his Hall of Fame
            credentials, ran for 774 yards and added 30 catches for 310 yards. But signs of
            wear were obvious as his 12th NFL season wound down.

            In February 2005, coach Mike Martz announced that Jackson and Faulk would swap
            assignments. That season, Jackson gained 1,046 yards on the ground and 320
            through the air, but the Rams slumped to 5-11. Martz was fired after the season
            and Linehan brought an offensive system that stressed more balance between the
            run and the...
            -06-08-2007, 05:23 AM
          • RamWraith
            Rams' Jackson becoming multithreat
            by RamWraith
            / Associated Press

            ST. LOUIS (AP) - Steven Jackson joked after his biggest multithreat day in the NFL that he had become a big Marshall Faulk.

            It's clear the St. Louis Rams are finding new ways to utilize the third-year running back, who has taken over Faulk's spot on a full-time basis for the first time this season. Jackson opened the season with a pair of 100-yard rushing games in coach Scott Linehan's new balanced attack, and when the Lions crowded the line last week he totaled 146 yards rushing and receiving.

            The 240-pound Jackson is second in the NFL with 367 yards rushing with more power but less shiftiness than Faulk, and he's first in the league with 531 yards. The back-to-back 100-yard rushing games were the first for the team since Faulk, out for the season with a knee injury that could end his career, did it in three straight games in 2003.

            "It's all the same," Jackson said Thursday. "Once you get the ball, you're a running back anyway. So it doesn't matter."

            It doesn't matter to Linehan either, as long as Jackson gets his touches.

            "He does a lot with it once he's got it in his hands," Linehan said. "The sensible thing is to figure out more and more ways to get it in his hands if you can."

            Jackson had 81 yards on 22 carries, scoring the first rushing touchdown all season for the Rams (3-1). He added six catches for 65 yards in a 41-34 shootout over the Lions and is third on the team with 15 receptions and a 10.9-yard average.

            Jackson, a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time last season, totaled 73 catches his first two seasons.

            "I've always been able to have these talents," Jackson said. "They just didn't pop up overnight, it's just the fact that I'm able to put up the stats now.

            "That's what all look at, I guess."

            Jackson was the first running back taken in the 2004 draft. He believes what's happening now is just a natural progression.

            "Coach has opened the offense up a little bit because after those first two weeks, how the run offense took off like it did, we faced a lot of eight-man boxes geared to stop the run," Jackson said. "If we can't get it in the running game, we can get some short passes and it's kind of a running game."

            The Rams scored four touchdowns last week after totaling two the first three games. Besides Jackson's big day, wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce each had 100-yard days and Marc Bulger threw for a season-high 328 yards.

            "We're finally on one page," Jackson said. "Whoever's going to get the job done, I think egos are put to the side and we're going to ride that person out."

            Jackson may get a chance to run behind an offensive line at full strength. Offensive tackle Orlando...
            -10-06-2006, 05:59 AM
          • RamWraith
            Rams’ future is Jackson
            by RamWraith
            DARRIN BEENE; The News Tribune
            Last updated: January 7th

            The St. Louis Rams running game ain’t what it used to be – and that worries the Seattle Seahawks.
            Even though Marshall Faulk’s productivity is in decline, the Rams have suffered no dropoff in their ability to run the ball. The reason is rookie Steven Jackson.

            Faulk, 31, led the Rams in rushing for the sixth consecutive year this season, but he did it with his lowest total (774 yards) since his injury-plagued 1996 season with the Indianapolis Colts. A bruised left knee and Jackson’s development cost Faulk carries this year.

            Jackson, a 21-year-old out of Oregon State, rushed for 673 yards and showed power and speed. That presents St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz with a pleasant problem for Saturday’s first-round playoff game against the Seahawks: Faulk or Jackson?

            If that sounds like a changing of the guard, that’s because it is. Martz did not even hesitate when asked this week if he sees Jackson as Faulk’s eventual replacement.

            “I think that there is a bit of that going on. No question about it,” Martz said. “Steven is on his way, I think, to a brilliant career. We just need to make sure we do it the right way with him.”

            The right way involves taking it slowly with their first-round draft choice (24th overall pick). Faulk had more carries than Jackson in each of the Rams’ first 10 games, but over the past six games, Jackson has 28 more carries than Faulk.

            Jackson said he’s soaking everything in and trying to learn from Faulk.

            “Some people don’t even get to play on a team with a Hall of Famer and here I am, in my first year, sharing a backfield with one,” Jackson said. “It’s only going to help me later on in my career having seen the things he does, how he conducts himself on a daily basis.”

            Jackson gained over 100 yards twice in the season’s final six games, including a 148-yard effort on Monday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles that cemented his claim as the Rams’ future.

            The present, however, is what concerns Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren. If Jackson – who has been battling a knee injury – is healthy, and Faulk is rested, how do the Seahawks stop that in addition the Rams’ passing game?

            “Thanks for reminding me,” cracked Holmgren earlier this week. “They are a very good offensive team. It’s a challenge for our defense. We’ve been scrapping and trying real hard, and we’re going to do the same thing on Saturday.”

            The Seahawks haven’t had much success against Faulk or Jackson this season. In the first meeting – the one the Rams rallied from 17 points down to win, 33-27, in overtime – Faulk and Jackson combined for 115 yards rushing on 20 carries on a day when quarterback Marc Bulger threw for 325 yards.

            The rematch saw Faulk have his best game of the season – 139 yards rushing...
            -01-07-2005, 06:53 PM