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  • Jackson Makes His Presence Felt

    Jackson Makes His Presence Felt
    Sunday, August 29, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Over, around, through. Pick a preposition and it probably applies to Steven Jackson’s running style.

    The rookie running back from Oregon State, who played well in the Rams’ first two preseason games, made his official announcement to the rest of the NFL that he is going to be a force sooner than later.

    St. Louis coach Mike Martz said he is impressed with the strides Jackson has made.

    “The more you give him the ball, the stronger he gets,” Martz said. “He’s like a typical USC tailback. The more you give him, the hungrier they get and they just keep rolling. I think safeties get tired of hitting him after awhile.”

    Jackson left Washington’s defense with a different shade of skin: black and blue Friday night at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis’ 28-3 win. Jackson finished his evening with a little more than five minutes left. He was efficient, bruising and most of all effective in racking up 125 yards on 25 carries, adding a touchdown for good measure.

    Ask Jackson to describe his running game and it is likely you will receive a variety of answers. He makes no qualms about his propensity for taking on defenders in the open field with little more than a dropped shoulder.

    Quarterback Chris Chandler said he hasn’t been around many backs that can drive forward and finish runs the way Jackson does.

    “That piles moves forward when he hits it,” Chandler said. “He’s got a ways to go, but he has a great start.”
    Jackson said he likes the different aspects to his game, but he takes the most pride in leaving cleat marks on a defender’s chest.

    “That’s the main ingredient in my game,” Jackson said. “That’s why the Rams brought me here, to add a little bit more of a downhill attack in their offense.”

    Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 231 pounds, the chiseled Jackson is blessed with more than power.

    Numerous times, Jackson has shown impressive finesse moves, such as his jump cut, where he takes a little hop to one side of the defender, adjusts his pad level and moves forward. Jackson also possesses enough speed to outrun most defenders. His ability to mix running styles is just one reason he was the first running back taken in the 2004 NFL Draft.
    “I know a big part of my game is being so big and powerful, but at the same time I do have quick feet and I can get hit the holes,” Jackson said. “That’s another thing that can throw a defender off my game.”

    Jackson has also displayed a soft pair of hands that make him a developing duel-threat back. In 36 games at Oregon State, Jackson rushed for 3,625 yards and 39 touchdowns. He also caught 66 passes for 680 yards and six touchdowns.

    Jackson entered the draft a year early and the Rams traded up with Cincinnati to grab him with the 24th pick. Jackson, who has battled soreness in his right knee, arrived at camp on time, even showing solidarity with his fellow rookies by riding the rookie bus. From that moment, Jackson has played with something to prove.

    Jackson said he might be a rookie in age and experience, but he won’t let that affect his approach to the game.

    “I’m a rookie and I think they (defenses) try to intimidate me,” Jackson said. “That’s why I come out so aggressively. I try to set the tempo. By me doing that, it brings my teammates on the sideline into the game.”

    Martz said Jackson still has improvements to make, but the rookie should only improve as he begins to get acclimated to the complicated offense. Judging by his performance in the preseason, the thought of a runaway freight train like Jackson getting better is nothing short of scary.

  • #2
    Re: Jackson Makes His Presence Felt

    I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the agility and power Jackson has shown thus far reminds me of a combination of Dickerson and Bettis. Nothing like inflated expectations, but if he acquires Faulk's blocking and catching skills the Rams finally may have cashed in.

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    • Rambos
      Jackson Ready to Carry Load
      by Rambos
      Jackson Ready to Carry Load
      Thursday, September 8, 2005

      By Nick Wagoner
      Senior Writer

      There is little doubt about the lasting impression Steven Jackson left on the ***** during his rookie season.

      And that’s not even counting his 119-yard breakout performance in the second meeting with San Francisco.

      In case any of those ***** forget this week what Jackson is capable of, they can turn to cornerback turned safety Mike Rumph and ask him what he remembers about his first meeting with Jackson.

      "I remember thinking at the time, 'Why am I doing this?'” Rumph told the Associated Press. “But I stuck out my arm to try to trip him. When I was running off the field, I didn't even want to look at it; because I knew it was (broken) pretty bad."

      This would be Rumph’s attempt at arm tackling the running back known around Rams Park as “Train.” As Jackson burst up the middle with the ball, Rumph dived at him, sticking his arm directly in the path of Jackson’s churning legs. In other words, Rumph’s arm was on the tracks as the train came through.

      The result was a broken arm and a spot on the injured list for the rest of the season for Rumph. Jackson didn’t recall the play, but said he felt bad about what happened to Rumph.

      “I don’t remember,” Jackson said. “But I remember it being brought up a lot, especially this week. Like I told the San Francisco media, you never go out and try to hurt anyone. We all understand this is our livelihood and guys do want to play and the biggest thing for me is just to protect myself at all times. What happened to Mike was unfortunate but that’s the game of football.”

      Still, even Jackson was willing to admit that arm tackling him is probably not the best approach to bringing him down.

      Rumph should get plenty of opportunities to tackle Jackson again Sunday when the Rams and ***** open the regular season at Monster Park. This time Jackson is the starting running back and will probably get more than his share of the work.

      After a rookie season in which he shared time with Marshall Faulk, Jackson will start the season as the top guy this year. In his limited time last season, Jackson ran for 673 yards on 134 carries, an average of 5 yards per attempt.

      Those numbers would have been satisfying for many rookie backs, but not Jackson who is hoping that the normally pass-happy Rams offense will make a commitment to him.

      The confident Jackson is not scared to let the coaches know when he isn’t getting the ball. So what happens if it’s halftime and Jackson hasn’t gotten the touches he would like to get?

      “I wouldn’t wait ‘til halftime to say it,” Jackson said. “I think a lot of people know how I feel about running the ball. I also understand when you have the likes of Torry and Isaac and Kevin and Mac we do want to...
      -09-08-2005, 04:12 PM
    • RamWraith
      Rams' Jackson in search of new ground
      by RamWraith
      By Tom Weir, USA TODAY

      ST. LOUIS — As a student of architecture who's planning a trip to Italy next year, St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson knows Rome wasn't built in a day.
      But Jackson isn't patient about the delay in his plan to erect a running legacy in the NFL. In nine games last season, he had 17 or fewer carries, and St. Louis was a miserable 1-8 in those contests.

      That's why Jackson lets out a laugh when asked whether he's the Ram who's happiest to see Scott Linehan replacing Mike Martz as St. Louis' coach.

      "I'll try to say this nicely," said Jackson, putting down a fork in midmeal at the Rams' training-camp cafeteria. "I wasn't happy because Mike Martz was losing his job. I was happy because I felt I was going to get to start my career over."

      In the waning years of St. Louis' pass-happy, "Greatest Show on Turf" era under Martz, Jackson felt left out. With 1,046 rushing yards in 15 games last season, Jackson did manage St. Louis' first 1,000-yard running season since Marshall Faulk's in 2001, but he felt there was plenty more ground that could have been gained.

      The conflict peaked after a loss to the Washington Redskins on December 4, when Jackson had only 11 carries. Jackson's complaints to the media led to one headline that read: "Give me the damn ball."

      Jackson now contends that wasn't an exact quote and says his words "kind of got twisted." But he also added, "I didn't mind."

      On his issues with Martz, Jackson said: "We could go back and forth all day. He has problems with me; I have problems with him."

      But when reminded that Martz said Jackson needed to be ready to play more if he wanted the workhorse role, Jackson readily admitted, "That's truthful."

      Jackson is focused on improving his durability.

      "I'm getting that at this camp," he said. "Since we started, it's been full pads every day," even on 100-degree days.

      St. Louis will have a more balanced attack than the one that passed 61.2% of the time last season, Linehan said.

      New offensive coordinator Greg Olson says much of his planning has focused on "how are we going to make sure Steven Jackson touches the ball 20 times a game? ... I think that's a good starting number."

      Entering his third season, Jackson has goals of 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns. He makes no secret that he wants the fame that would accompany those numbers.

      "I don't need to be a household name because I want to be recognized," Jackson said. "I want to be a household name because I believe I have a gift."

      The obvious part of that gift is the bruising style of the 6-2, 231-pound Jackson. In one of only two games in which he carried 25 times last season,...
      -08-08-2006, 06:05 AM
    • RamWraith
      Jackson Eager for New Beginning
      by RamWraith
      Wednesday, March 29, 2006

      By Nick Wagoner
      Senior Writer

      Steven Jackson thought 2005 was going to be his breakout season. It was his first year as a starter and things were supposed to be different from his rookie year.

      Jackson expected plenty of carries, yards and touchdowns and he expected the Rams to be a Super Bowl contender. And many people expected the same thing.

      After a tumultuous season in which the team finished 6-10 and Jackson was essentially an afterthought in the offense, Jackson is ready for a fresh start.

      “I am approaching it with a focus of saying this is me getting a new beginning,” Jackson said Wednesday. “I feel like I have a chance to start over my career.”

      Granted, Jackson acknowledges that he isn’t exactly a grizzled veteran with just two years of experience. But Jackson also is looking to be in on the ground floor of a new direction in the organization.

      By now, everyone knows and remembers the troubling times Jackson went through last season. With coach Mike Martz on the shelf for most of the season because of a bacterial infection of the heart valve, Jackson never got much of a chance to take off.

      Even when Martz was calling the plays, Jackson was probably even less of an option. Going as far back as the 2004 season, at Arizona when Jackson was deemed healthy, but not on the field for most of the game, Jackson believes that he and Martz simply did not mix.

      “You don’t want to be in the doghouse of the head coach,” Jackson said. “No matter what you say about him, no matter how you feel about him, you don’t want…this is the guy that is calling the plays. You don’t want to be in the doghouse of a guy like Coach Martz. At the same time, you have to address him as a professional and ask him if it is a problem can we sever it and get on with it. At times, I thought we did sit down, discuss what the problem was and move on. At times, in the heat of the battle of the games, it just seemed like I wasn’t getting my touches.”

      Jackson certainly had moments where he flashed his enormous potential a season ago. In week eight against Jacksonville with most of the Rams’ top skill players out, Jackson had his best game. He rushed for 179 yards on 25 carries with a game-winning touchdown catch in the closing minutes.

      Instead of that becoming a stepping stone, Jackson’s touches fluctuated greatly the rest of the season. During the Dec. 4 game against Washington, Jackson received just 11 carries for 24 yards.

      It became somewhat of a breaking point for Jackson, as he let his feeling become known during his weekly meeting with the media. When asked if he had spoken with the coaching staff about his lack of touches, Jackson said “No, I haven’t but you can. Give me the ball.”

      Jackson battled a variety of minor injuries for the rest of the season and...
      -03-29-2006, 01:38 PM
    • RamDez
      Jackson Ready for Action
      by RamDez
      Friday, July 29, 2005

      By Nick Wagoner
      Senior Writer
      As Steven Jackson relaxed in his hometown of Las Vegas earlier this summer, he kicked back and flipped on the television, flipping to ESPN to catch up with the day’s activities in the world of sports.
      Then, out of nowhere, he saw his name flash across the bottom of the screen. The words that surrounded his name to form a sentence came as a surprise, the kind of surprise Jackson has waited his whole life for. Yes, Jackson was named the Rams’ starting running back.
      “I was on vacation at the time and I saw it come across on ESPN and when I did see it come across, the phone started ringing off the hook,” Jackson said. “It was one of those things I was pleased to hear. I didn’t expect it as soon as it was, but at the same time it gave me time to prepare mentally coming into this (training camp).”
      As Jackson enters his second training camp and first as the starter, the expectations for what he could do are mounting. Those expectations stem from the glimpses of greatness Jackson provided last season.
      In 2004, Jackson ran for 673 yards and three touchdowns on 134 carries, an average of 5 yards per chance. Along the way, Jackson showed an unusual combination of speed and size that could make him a superstar in the NFL.
      Perhaps the moment most remember Jackson for in 2004 was the fourth game of the year at San Francisco. No, Jackson didn’t break any records in that game, but he did break something.
      On what appeared to be a normal run up the middle, Jackson burst through the line and headed toward the secondary. As cornerback Mike Rumph dived toward Jackson’s leg, the rookie runner didn’t trip and fall. Instead, Jackson shed the tackle and continued to the next level. Rumph’s arm was broken and he was out for the season.
      That is the kind of damage you are capable of when you’re 6-feet-1, 231 pounds and run in the mid to low 4’s in the 40-yard dash. It’s also the kind of damage that can earn you the nickname “Train,” which is the moniker that hangs above Jackson’s locker at Rams Park.
      Although Jackson’s first season was impressive for the most part, it did not go off without a hitch. Jackson battled knee injuries, many of which he blamed on the AstroTurf surface at the Edward Jones Dome.
      Because of the knee problems, Jackson was forced to have a cleanup surgery on the knee. So Jackson used most of his offseason for rehabilitation, taking 10-12 weeks to recuperate.
      “Physically I am bigger than probably the majority of running backs in the league so that’s not something I had to worry about it,” Jackson said. “It was just making sure I had the trust and strength in my knee that I once had.”
      Jackson got more good news when the Rams announced that the playing surface at the Edward Jones Dome would change from AstroTurf to FieldTurf, which is easier on his knees.
      With rehab out of the way and the assurance that he...
      -07-30-2005, 01:37 AM
    • RamWraith
      Jackson eager to haul ball for Rams
      by RamWraith
      By Bill Coats
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      09/08/2005

      It was a long seven months ago that Rams coach Mike Martz designated Steven Jackson as his No. 1 running back. Since then, Jackson has had the second Sunday of September on his mind.

      "It's been a while, yeah," Jackson said. "This Sunday is going to be full of excitement for me. ... Pregame, I know I'm going to have the jitters. But after a while, I'm pretty sure I'm going to calm down."

      Jackson, the team's first-round draft choice in 2004, started three times last year. But until Martz made his announcement in February, Jackson was perched behind Marshall Faulk on the depth chart.

      Now, with the 32-year-old Faulk designated for a complementary role, the Rams' running game rests in the hands of Jackson, a 6-foot-2, 231-pound Oregon State product. And he can't wait to reward Martz's trust, starting with Sunday's regular-season opener in San Francisco.

      "I have plenty of goals for this year, not only individually, but for the team," said Jackson, 22. "I think we're fully capable of accomplishing those."

      Jackson was a bit cagey when discussing his own expectations.

      "If I could break 1,000 (rushing) yards, that'd be good. I've never done that," he said. "And 1,500 yards would be an excellent year. Me personally, I want more than that."

      Despite playing on a balky knee that was "cleaned up" during offseason surgery, Jackson piled up 673 yards in 134 carries last year, a gaudy 5.0-yard average. He also caught 19 passes for 189 yards.

      In the preseason this summer, Jackson had 32 carries for 215 yards, a 6.7 average. Healthy and primed, Jackson said his first assignment Sunday would be keeping his emotions in check.

      "That's going to be the biggest thing," he said. "Of course, I want to go out there and make big plays and I want to help my team win. But when you calm yourself down and just let the game come to you, that's when things happen for you."

      But will Martz, who loves to throw the ball, truly commit to the running game?

      "You never know what to expect from Mike," Jackson said. "It's up to me, when I do have a chance to run, to make something happen. And that's what I plan on doing."

      And if he thinks he isn't getting the ball enough, Jackson said he wouldn't hesitate to confront Martz - even early in the game.

      "I won't wait till halftime to say it," Jackson said, laughing. "I think a lot of people know how I feel about running the ball."

      That's just fine with the coach.

      "I'd be disappointed if he didn't do that," Martz said. "That's what he's used to and that's what he wants. And of course, that's what you want in...
      -09-09-2005, 05:16 AM
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