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Jackson looks for more carries in Rams' offense

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  • Jackson looks for more carries in Rams' offense

    Jackson not carrying a heavy load
    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS -- Steven Jackson is coming off his first 100-game of the season and is ready for heavy duty. But it might be a while before he gets a 20-carry game, even if the St. Louis Rams have built their offense around him.

    Jackson has always believed he's at his best in the fourth quarter, after the 235-pounder has worn down the opposition.

    "I'm kind of like a streaky 3-point shooter," Jackson said Thursday. "The more I get a chance to touch the ball, the more I get a feel for what the defense is trying to do. It allows me to get that good lather and kind of get downhill and take advantage of the fatigue on defense."

    Jackson had 104 yards on 17 carries in a 9-7 loss at Washington last week. He was limited to 67 yards on 16 carries in the opening 28-0 loss at Seattle after the Rams (0-2) got stuck playing catchup, so he should be feeling pretty fresh heading into Sunday's home opener against the Green Bay Packers.

    "He's in great shape, came to training camp in great shape, always upbeat, does everything 100 mph," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "What more could you ask for as a coach?"

    More carries, of course. Jackson understands it's part of the growing process for a rebuilding franchise, under a new staff with unproven skill players, that has scored only one touchdown in two games.

    "He needs to be the focus of this team and this offense," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "We're constantly going to make an effort to get him the football."

    Like every other team, until the Rams show they have other playmakers, the Packers (1-1) will be trying to take Jackson out of the game by jamming the line. Green Bay struggled last week against the Bengals, with Cedric Benson rushing for 141 yards and a 4.9-yard average per carry.

    "You always want to try to make the offense one-dimensional," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We are definitely planning to take the run away from them."

    Rams offensive tackle Jason Smith, the second overall pick of the draft, could miss two weeks with a sprained left knee, although he got a vigorous workout on the sideline Thursday with cycling and pilates exercises. Center Jason Brown has a sprained right knee, although he has not missed any practice time.

    Jackson's game average of 18.5 touches, counting receptions, is well below his accustomed work load. He got the ball 27 times per game in 2006, his best season, when he rushed for 1,528 yards and caught 90 passes to set a franchise record for a running back.

    He averaged 24 touches last year, picking up his fourth straight 1,000-yard season despite playing only 12 games due to injuries.

    The Rams were fairly balanced last week, with 28 passes and 21 runs, and St. Louis is averaging an impressive 5.2 yards per carry on the year. The biggest problem has been getting the opposition off the field, with opponents running 115 plays (67 runs) and the Rams 71 (39 runs).

    "We have to win time of possession," Jackson said. "We have to be able to grind on a defense, wear them down, so we can run the ball more."

    St. Louis had three drives that lasted 10 or more plays last week, a step in the right direction for a team plagued by missed blocks, missed reads and false starts. Spagnuolo has been stressing fundamentals this week.

    "To me, the difference is in the details," Spagnuolo said. "The teams that play together and focus on the details and don't make the minor mistakes that kill you, those are the teams that win."

  • #2
    Re: Jackson looks for more carries in Rams' offense

    Nice insight I really hope he has a big game vs Green Bay we really need him for sure.


    • #3
      Re: Jackson looks for more carries in Rams' offense

      [QUOTE]"To me, the difference is in the details," Spagnuolo said. "The teams that play together and focus on the details and don't make the minor mistakes that kill you, those are the teams that win."

      Our teams has to do allot of the little things well we don’t have allot of room for errors if we want to win.


      • #4
        Re: Jackson looks for more carries in Rams' offense

        Our teams has to do allot of the little things well we don’t have allot of room for errors if we want to win.

        For this team to win, we can't have room for ANY errors.


        • #5
          Re: Jackson looks for more carries in Rams' offense

          Here's hoping that Jackson doesn't bring any more "dancing" to the dance on Sunday ..


          Related Topics


          • r8rh8rmike
            Rams' Jackson Says He's Back To '100 Percent"
            by r8rh8rmike
            Rams' Jackson says he's back to '100 percent'

            BY JIM THOMAS
            Friday, October 14, 2011

            Steven Jackson took the handoff from Sam Bradford, dashed off left tackle behind excellent blocking and didn't stop until he had crossed the goal line 47 yards later untouched. Touchdown, Rams. What a way to start the season.

            The opening day crowd responded with more than just loud applause. There was that tingly sort of electricity in the air, something rarely felt in the Edward Jones Dome in recent years. After the near miss for a playoff berth in 2010, a frenetic free agency period and an unbeaten preseason, Jackson's lightning bolt against Philadelphia heralded the dawning of a new era of Rams football. The dark cloud that had hovered over Rams Park for years was finally lifted.

            Or maybe not.

            Jackson slowed as he approached the end zone. While the Rams' defense was on the field for the next series, Jackson rode a stationary bike on the sidelines. And on his second carry of the day, with a hole big enough to score another touchdown, Jackson limped his way to a 9-yard gain.

            He was done for the day, and done for most of the next month with a pulled quadriceps muscle. Cadillac Williams replaced Jackson the rest of the way against Philly and performed admirably with 91 yards rushing. No disrespect to Williams, but a healthy Jackson might have run for 191.

            That was the game plan that day, to pound away at the undersized Eagles front seven and take advantage of their inexperienced linebacker corps. Maybe the Rams upset Philadelphia with a healthy, rambling Jackson. Maybe that gives them a jolt of confidence, boosting them to a surprisingly fast start against a daunting early-season schedule. We'll never know.

            "You've just got to move forward," Jackson said Thursday. "I do think it would've been truly special, but for whatever reason it was a test for me to go through. And hopefully myself and this team come out on the better end of the test, and we learn something from it."

            The following week, Jackson tested the quad in pregame but couldn't go Monday night in the Meadowlands against the New York Giants. In Week 3, he saw limited duty against Baltimore (four carries). In Week 4, he was close to a full workload (21 touches) against Washington but not close to full health.

            But now, following the bye week, we now return to our regularly scheduled Steven Jackson.

            "It looks like he's ready to go, and excited to have an opportunity to play and really go full steam ahead," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said following Thursday's practice.

            "I think he's been looking pretty good," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "You can ask him. But he looks good."

            Jackson, the running back who never gives percentages when asked...
            -10-14-2011, 04:08 PM
          • Rambos
            Jackson, Run Game on a Roll
            by Rambos
            On the heels of two straight dominant performances in the running game and with the Browns’ 30th-ranked run defense awaiting in Cleveland, it stands to reason that Rams running back Steven Jackson could go for the hat trick of 100-yard games this weekend.

            Of course, Jackson knows that will be easier said than done because time and again in his career, he’s been asked about facing a team that’s struggled against the run and then seen that team throw everything it has at stopping him en route to its best run defense of the season.

            “Story of my career,” Jackson said. “When certain teams come to town, certain players come to town, statistically those things don’t matter. I’m pretty sure that all week they’ve been game planning and knowing what they like to do, especially having (Head) Coach (Pat) Shurmur over there. He was personally with me for two years, so I’m pretty sure they’ll be up for the challenge and the test. I don’t look at 30th, being ranked 30th saying it’s going to be an easy Sunday. It’ll be a very challenging Sunday.”

            The basic premise of Jackson’s thesis is that teams that have struggled against the run, when faced with a team that features the running game so prominently, will often do everything in its power to force the other part of the offense to beat it.

            In this case, the Browns have struggled some against the run and have been outstanding against the pass (ranking first in the league). For their part, the Rams have been riding a healthy Jackson the past two weeks and he’s rewarded them with 289 yards and two touchdowns combined.

            There’s little doubt that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the offense will again look to Jackson to carry the load this week and to setup quarterback Sam Bradford and the passing game for big plays.

            “You want to keep it going because as the running game goes, I believe this team and this offense goes,” Jackson said. “We need to continue to be productive in that area. I think it will open up things, especially for Sam and the receivers which allows for us to have some big plays.”

            So why, after the running game couldn’t quite get on track in the first part of the season, has it begun to take off?

            The reasons are varied though it starts with Jackson getting back to full strength and being able to again take on a full workload.

            After battling a quadriceps injury suffered on his season-opening 47-yard touchdown run, Jackson has been rounding back into form since the bye week.

            Of course, it hasn’t hurt that the Rams have been able to stay in games and stuck to the run more since they haven’t had to play catch up as much.

            “So far these last two weeks the games have been close, more opportunities to be honest with you,” Jackson said. “The more we can wear on a defense and the game is close or we’re in the lead, it allows for us to pound away...
            -11-14-2011, 06:05 AM
          • MauiRam
            NFL: Jackson is the ultimate decoy ..
            by MauiRam

            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."
            -12-04-2010, 12:11 PM
          • RamWraith
            Jackson Off to Strong Start
            by RamWraith
            Thursday, September 21, 2006

            By Nick Wagoner
            Senior Writer

            When Steven Jackson wakes up on Monday morning, he is always sore. But this year, it’s a good kind of sore as Jackson’s workload has increased to a level that has placed him third in the league in rushing.

            “It feels pretty good,” Jackson said. “I’m fully aware that it’s only week two, so hopefully we can keep making strides and keep ourselves paced through it. This league is a marathon, not a race.”

            While there’s no doubting that Jackson has a long way to go in the NFL’s version of a marathon, there are signs that his good start out of the blocks could keep pace over the course of an entire season.

            After two games, Jackson has run with the combination of power and speed he flashed in his first two seasons in the league. As the game goes on, he gets stronger and he is finishing runs with more authority than in years past.

            “He's certainly one of those type backs, a big punishing type runner and they're harder to tackle if you're able to establish a running game as the game goes on,” head coach Scott Linehan said. “They tend to wear you down a little bit because it's a big guy to tackle.”

            Jackson’s punishing style has him third in the NFL and second in the NFC in rushing yards with 224 on just 44 carries, an average of 5.1 yards per attempt. And though his longest run of the season was a 37-yard scamper in the season opener against Denver, Jackson has showed more consistency than in his first two seasons.

            In the win against the Broncos, he rushed six times for 67 yards in the fourth quarter. Even with the Rams trailing in the loss to San Francisco, Jackson punished the ***** late in the game, carrying four times for 27 yards.

            It’s that type of punishing style that has placed Jackson behind only Cincinnati’s Rudi Johnson and Atlanta’s Warrick Dunn in the early race for the rushing title.

            “A lot goes on through the course of the game,” Jackson said. “Average fans don’t realize. You have to have a feel for what the defense is trying to do. Also, you try to wear them down. Coach is calling the plays to see what they are going to do and what formations (they might use) so as the course of the game goes on , I get a feel of what they are doing and I believe the offensive line does, too. With that being said, that’s how I get my big yards later in the game.”

            So, what exactly is it that has allowed Jackson to get off to such a good start? Actually, there are a number of reasons for his early-season success.

            One of those stems from the move of hiring Linehan as the head coach. Upon his arrival, Linehan vowed to give the Rams a more balanced attack with Jackson as the featured attraction.

            In his first two seasons in the league, Jackson had times where he would lose yards as he searched for holes to run...
            -09-22-2006, 05:11 AM
          • MauiRam
            Burwell: Time for Rams to unleash the beast
            by MauiRam
            By Bryan Burwell Sunday, September 19, 2010 12:15 am

            OAKLAND, Calif. • Steve Spagnuolo's coaching DNA comes off the old Bill Parcells strain, an old-school football philosophy that emphasizes nasty, aggressive defense and an offensive style that relies on smart veterans, hands-in-the-dirt power and clock-gobbling ground control.

            So imagine the culture shock that must have occurred in his head last week when he not only put his offense in the hands of a rookie quarterback, but condoned a game plan that involved a lopsided pass/run distribution of 57-to-24. Okay, we know circumstances forced the Rams to be a bit more pass happy than what normally suits Spagnuolo's tastes. But the most surprising aspect of the way things worked for his offense was that Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson was particularly ignored for most of the first half.

            Two carries in the first quarter?

            Eight in the first half?

            That has to change, doesn't it?

            Please tell me that's going to change.

            I am as guilty as most of us of an incurable Sam Bradford obsession. Heck, I am the drum major in his parade. But as good as the kid has shown he can be, and as good an NFL quarterback as we know he will ultimately turn into, the rookie needs a lot of things going the right way if he's going to make this offense work smoothly. One of those things — the most important thing — is a highly productive Jackson.

            When the Rams face the Oakland Raiders Sunday afternoon inside rowdy Oakland-Alemeda Coliseum, the game plan needs to tilt back a bit towards a more balanced run/pass ratio. Jackson needs to be the focus of this offense.

            Every week the Rams play, I am always amazed at the comments I get from smart NFL folks who get an up-close eye full of Jackson's raging running style. A few weeks ago after the Patriots preseason game, I ran into Chris Long's dad, the legendary Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, and when the conversation rolled around to Jackson, Howie had a familiar reaction.

            "Oh man, he's a beast," he gushed. "I love watching that guy run with the football."

            It's amazing how much greater the appreciation for Jackson's unique gifts seem to be outside St. Louis. Knowledgeable football wise guys speak of him in almost reverent terms because of his size and speed and his almost freakishly powerful running style. And I guess unless you have seen Jackson's raw energy up close from an NFL sideline, even the TV replays don't adequately translate what he is doing out there.

            Jackson is a difference maker on this Rams offense, but the plays have to be called to take advantage of his talent. Throughout his career, he has proven that the longer you feed him the stronger he gets.

            I charted his entire career and it's fascinating to see what happens when he is given the ball. Look...
            -09-19-2010, 01:53 AM