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Dangerous Player: Steven Jackson

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  • Dangerous Player: Steven Jackson

    A look at the players opposing teams hate to see with the ball in their hands in the open field.
    Rams running back Steven Jackson on Sunday plowed through several Detroit Lions and barreled over umpire Bill Schuster during a bruising 17-yard run.

    Scott Rovak/US Presswire
    Steven Jackson is difficult to bring down in the open field.
    "I'm not a guy who can stop on a dime -- I'm just going to be flat-out honest with you," Jackson told 101ESPN St. Louis. "If I'm going in one direction and you're in the way, I'm sorry."

    The statement could apply to quite a few linebackers and defensive backs, and probably some defensive linemen, too. The 6-foot-2, 236-pound Jackson combines uncommon size -- he's an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier than Adrian Peterson -- with the speed, moves and heart to make him the NFC West's most dangerous player in the open field.

    One play after that 17-yard run against the Lions, Jackson outran a linebacker and a safety for the winning 25-yard touchdown.

    "He is a big back that can move like a smaller back -- he makes people miss," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

    Jackson isn't the only NFC West player defenses fear in the open field.

    Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin attacks defenders with a ferocity that might be unique among current players at the position (with the exception of the Steelers' Hines Ward). Niners running back Frank Gore is another tough matchup in the open field. He runs hard and has deceptive power. But no player in the division consistently punishes and defeats tacklers as effectively at Jackson, who seems to be running harder more consistently this season.

    Jackson has an NFL-leading 25 rushes of at least 10 yards this season. No one else has more than 22. Only five have more than 15.

    "I know people don’t like to tackle him," Spagnuolo said. "I remember defending and playing against him and there were murmurs always on the film that guys really did

    Via ESPN

    Most feared player from the NFC West, that's what I like to hear...the man's a BEAST!
    Last edited by Guest; -11-04-2009, 08:00 PM.

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Sando: Has Rams' Steven Jackson Lost A Step?
    by r8rh8rmike
    Has Rams' Steven Jackson lost a step?

    May, 28, 2011
    By Mike Sando

    Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. has long been a huge Steven Jackson supporter.

    In the past, Williamson has described Jackson as one of the very best players in the NFL. But in an Insider piece breaking down NFC West running back situations, Williamson says Jackson has "lost a step" and no longer qualifies as a top runner in the open field.

    Jackson's long-term viability is definitely a concern based on the injuries he has incurred over the last couple seasons.

    I thought the groin and finger injuries he suffered last season affected Jackson, including in the open field. He could not open up with a full stride as easily, at least earlier in the season, and the finger injury forced him to take precautions when falling or catching the ball.

    Jackson, who turns 28 in July, also added muscle last season while returning from a back injury. He was already plenty powerful. Did the extra weight affect him negatively in any way?

    "He struggles to run away from tacklers and break long runs," Williamson wrote. "And he just isn't as nifty as he once was. This sounds like I am a Jackson "Hater," which I am not. In fact, I think that the new offense being installed by Josh McDaniels could do Jackson a world of good, as could the maturation of Sam Bradford."

    Williamson thinks the Rams must find a suitable backup for Jackson to spread the workload. Overall, he ranks the Rams' running back situation behind those of the San Francisco ***** and Arizona Cardinals. He calls Frank Gore the best running back in the NFC West despite injury concerns.
    -05-28-2011, 11:00 AM
  • RockinRam
    Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson
    by RockinRam
    By Matt Williamson
    Scouts Inc.

    St. Louis is counting on Steven Jackson. He is needed. He is needed in many ways for the Rams to approach respectability.
    Jackson is a great player. He is one of my favorite running backs in this league and is one of the true bell cow runners left. But I also think that a few years from now, Steve Spagnuolo is going to look back at his rookie year as a head coach and regret putting Jackson through the punishment he endured in 2009.

    I hope Spagnuolo learns from his mistake last season, but something tells me we should expect more of the same in 2010. That puts Jackson under the spotlight, as the short-term fate of the Rams' offense rests firmly on his shoulders -- and on his now surgically repaired back.
    My fear is that there will not be a long term. Let's face it; the Rams are not going to win the Super Bowl this season. They are rebuilding. And if/when they finally do become a contender, running back may be a major need because Jackson is spending his best days grinding out yardage on a terrible team.
    With their massive investment in Sam Bradford, the Rams must have a ground game. Their offensive line is young and talented. It should be improved from a year ago.
    Not only is Jackson the Rams' best player, but a solid running game is a rookie quarterback's best friend, and Jackson's receiving ability out of the backfield should provide Bradford with an exceptional and reliable option when the original play doesn't go according to script. Jackson can do it all well, including running on the perimeter or up the middle.
    But the Rams, with or without Bradford as the starting quarterback, are not going to frighten many defenses with their passing game. Every defensive coordinator on the schedule is going to key on shutting down Jackson first and foremost. St. Louis lacks dangerous pass-catching weapons and Jackson will face a stacked box far more often than not.
    That takes a toll on a running back's body. Not only is he going to take a lot of hits, but he is going to get hit often by multiple defenders at once. Obviously this is true for all ball carriers, but more so for Jackson considering his circumstances.
    Is this offseason surgery the beginning of the end for Jackson? Often when a running back begins to lose a step, the decline is very rapid. Last season, he didn't break long runs like he once did, and if this trend continues, the writing might be on the wall.
    With the huge number of needs St. Louis has in its rebuilding project, it is understandable why the Rams have gone in other directions instead of acquiring a backup running back for Jackson, but this massive hole on their roster could really hurt the franchise for the long term. The lack of a suitable backup running back might lead to the erosion of the Rams' best asset.
    That might be jumping the gun -- and some running backs will hit...
    -05-14-2010, 03:14 PM
  • RamFan_Til_I_Die
    Steven Jackson likes what he's seeing in Rams' offseason moves
    by RamFan_Til_I_Die
    Steven Jackson likes what he's seeing in Rams' offseason moves
    Running back says team has gone out and got him help
    BY STEVE KORTE - News-Democrat

    ST. LOUIS -- Steven Jackson feels the St. Louis Rams finally have the pieces in place to be a power running team.

    The Rams added fullback Mike Karney, center Jason Brown and blocking tight end Billy Bajema in free agency, and then took Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

    "They've also made decisions in the draft and free agency to help me out," Jackson said during the team's involuntary minicamp Friday. "That's the biggest thing. You just don't want to throw it all on one guy, and don't give him anything to work with. I think in free agency and the draft, the things that needed to be addressed were addressed.'"

    Though it might look that way, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said he's not trying to build the offense around Jackson.

    "I would never build it around one person," Spagnuolo said. "He's certainly a big part of it, but it is a team thing. I'm a firm believer that in order to win in this league, you have to have good linemen, and that's offensively and defensively. It just so happens we got two offensive guys."

    Jackson is hoping a new fullback and a revamped offensive line will help him prove that he's the best running back in the NFL.

    "Being the best running back is really just a matter of opinion," Jackson said. "I still think I am the best. Fullback, tackle, center -- these are the guys who are going to help me prove what I've been saying for years.

    "I have to continue to work to hard, and at the end of my career, at the end of the day, we'll see where I'm at. Right now, I believe Steven Jackson is the best."

    The Rams ranked 25th in the NFL in rushing last season, but Jackson was able to gain 1,042 despite missing four games because of an injury.

    Jackson has rushed for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, and this year he'll be trying to join Eric Dickerson as the only Rams running backs to accomplish the feat in four straight seasons.

    As far as the areas where he's looking to improve, Jackson said he's focusing on the "little things."

    "In this league, the little things separate the guys who go to the Pro Bowl, the guys who end up in Canton (home of Pro Football Hall of Fame)," Jackson said. "You have to continue to work on your route running, continue to anticipate your run reads, you have to make sure you're not giving the defenses a key on something because Sunday there is no time to think, it's just reaction."

    Jackson said he has tried to build a camaraderie with 5-foot-11, 255-pound Karney.

    "We've been to dinner a couple...
    -05-03-2009, 08:42 AM
  • 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
  • RamWraith
    Jackson: ‘no excuse’ for two lost fumbles
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Monday, Dec. 08 2008
    GLENDALE, ARIZ. — Late Sunday evening in Henderson, Nev., Steve Jackson
    received his weekly phone call from his son. Rams running back Steven Jackson
    knew what he'd hear even before he dialed the number.

    "He'll tell me to keep my head up, but make sure that I take care of the ball,"
    he said. "That's what a running back has to do."

    Fumbling is a rare offense by Jackson, but he lost two in the third quarter
    Sunday that contributed to Arizona's NFC West-clinching 34-10 victory.

    Trailing 20-7, the Rams were driving to make it a one-score deficit when
    Jackson coughed up the ball, with linebacker Karlos Dansby recovering at the
    Cardinals' 22-yard line. On the Rams' next series, defensive tackle Darnell
    Dockett scooped up another Jackson bobble and ran 11 yards for a touchdown that
    made it 27-7.

    Linebacker Gerald Hayes, who forced both fumbles, said, "When I looked back and
    saw Dockett was going to score, it was like a sigh of relief. You make one play
    and then it turns into an even bigger play."

    Playing on an improving right leg, Jackson rolled up 48 yards on eight carries
    in the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. "I was really excited
    coming into the game, knowing that the leg was starting to feel really good,"
    said Jackson, who had come back the previous week after missing four games and
    most of a fifth with a strained thigh muscle.

    "Steven's a monster," said Adam Goldberg, who started at right tackle. "It's an
    honor to block for him, because you know that he'll pound out the tough yards
    and he'll work just as hard and play just as physically as you do up front."

    The Cardinals are 10th in the NFL in total defense, and Jackson rarely had much
    room to operate. "I knew it was going to be a tough game," he said. "They have
    a defense that's really physical."

    In addition to a strong and active front seven, the Big Red secondary is stout
    against the run, Jackson pointed out. "Their corners do a good job of keeping
    containment and forcing the run to stay within the tackles," he said. "And
    their linebackers and their safeties do a good job with gap protections."

    Jackson finished with 64 yards on 19 carries.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger has been sacked just once in the last two games, and
    it's no coincidence, wide receiver Dane Looker stressed.

    Jackson's presence "poses a threat for the defense," Looker said. "They really
    have to make sure that they stop the run. ... A good running game opens up
    everything else in the offense."
    -12-09-2008, 11:16 AM