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Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

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  • Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

    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 the open market before opening day -- but I just hope St. Louis is very careful with how it uses Jackson. For example, Jackson's back spasms to finish the 2009 season now seem rather dubious, and having him tough it out in Week 17 is a perfect example of how not to prolong the running back's shelf life.
    Still, I love the way Jackson plays, and as of right now, I would put only Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson clearly over him in my running back rankings. Jackson is a resource that must be preserved.

  • #2
    Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

    I love all these "Jackson is all the Rams have" articles...While I don't agree at all, I do agree that he is a major part of what we are.
    If our line becomes dominant in the run blocking department, Jackson will not be as needed as everyone thinks he will. I love Jackson but the guy is not irreplaceable. As of now he is, but in two years he will be expendable if our rebuilding has gone according to plan.
    You don't need a great running back to be a great team, you need a great line, great QB, and a decent running back (or a set of running backs); unless you have a dominating defense. A great running back is an added bonus. Hopefully Jackson holds up another 4 years but if he doesn't, the sky isn't falling, he'll just have to get replaced with one of the MANY great runners that come out of college annually.
    If Sam Bradford and our offensive line play up to potential in upcoming years, we will be able to do like the great teams do and plug-and-play running backs.

    Naturally, however, it would be great to preserve Sjax for as long as possible by decreasing a few carries and either adding another back or increasing the amount of carries an ogbonnaya receives in a game.


    • #3
      Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

      I wholeheartedly agree with the basic theme of this article- which is the Rams need to be judicious with their use of Steven Jackson or he will burn out in very short order. Because Jackson is the Rams main offensive threat and Sam Bradford cannot be expected to put this team on his back this season, this is no easy task.

      On top of that, the Rams did not address this issue in the draft, choosing instead to try and fill their many other needs. The Samkon Gado's of the world aren't what's helpful here. It is therefore imperative that the Rams go out and get a Justin Fargas or some such similar player to spell Jackson for periods of time to keep him fresh and throw a curveball at the defense.

      Being a running team is fine. But that philosophy will take a toll on your franchise back if you don't get him some help.


      • #4
        Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

        SJax is something special, all the coaches in the NFL think very high of his skill set.

        We would be stupid to think that with a good line we could see equal running success. Stats show teams that add a RB do better than those that add a lineman.


        • #5
          Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

          While I love Jackson and think he is one of the best rb's in the NFL the Rams future does not rely on him. Look around the league. How far did Chris Johnson get the Titans? How far were the Farve less led Vikings going with Peterson being their main threat? While I think Jackson is a very important peice to the Rams offense the success hinges on Bradford being successful. If Bradford isnt successful the Rams wont be successful. I dont think the Rams defense is good enough to bring the Rams wins on their own. Jackson had a great year in 09 and the Rams won 1 game. Bradford needs to be the man he is said to be for the Rams to start winning again. So the o-line better become a good pass blocking line as well as a run blocking line because we need Bradford upright and seeing the field and making good decisions. Faulk won a title and i bet if you asked him he'd tell you he wouldnt have without Warner running the show. I've never watched a Superbowl and said to myself wow that running back took this team on his back the whole season and won that team a championship. There is always another peice to the puzzle making that team great. Some may say Terrell Davis but would he have done what he did if Elway had retired before he arrived in Denver I doubt it. So while I love Jackson and love seeing him have success the Rams are going to need Bradford to play well before they start putting wins together.
          Aim high Willis, Aim High!


          • #6
            Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

            The Rams will be better off if Jackson stays healthy.

            Thanks for the scoop.:|


            • #7
              Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

              Make no mistake about it Jackson is our only proven offensive threat that we have. As of right now he is the most important part of our offense. You might think Bradford is? nope..Steven will be the reason and huge determining factor of Sam's success and development by taking the pressure off of him, getting more defensive players in the box, play action fears , picking up blitzes and being the safety net for Sam out the backfield.
              In other words football is a team sport and no one player can do it on their own but I think Steven will have the biggest say in how we do at least at the beginning of the season than Sam being the man and the mainstay ofthis offense from the get go.
              Last edited by TheRammer; -05-15-2010, 10:13 AM.


              • #8
                Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

                Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
                The Rams will be better off if Jackson stays healthy.

                Thanks for the scoop.:|
                Surprisingly, some people do not know that. :o


                • #9
                  Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

                  This coming year a great running game will be very essential to our success whether it involves Jackson or not. Jackson is a great running back so it will likely involve him being an essential part this year. Great running backs are bonuses however, not essentials as has been proven annually by the Saints, Colts, Steelers, Giants. I can go all day. A great QB and offensive line is much more important than a great runningback.

                  "We would be stupid to think that with a good line we could see equal running success. Stats show teams that add a RB do better than those that add a lineman."--TylerBishop

                  Really? Where are these stats that show this? The stats tell me that offensive lineman routinely get picked higher than running backs every year. Why? Because without a line, you don't play offense. Simple. You see great running backs all the time because everyone wants to play it and their are plenty of athletes out there who only need a hole to bust off 100 yard games weekly. If you can't block you can't play. Which is why a great line is at more of a premium. Believe it or not, Jackson's running success was due to his skills and our offensive line's run blocking. Notice how Jackson's play fell off when our line fell off. We weren't good at pass protection all year, but we were pretty good at run blocking and that was a strength as well as our running game as a whole.

                  People like to call SJax this big threat. Which he is to an extent. But 4 touchdowns in a season don't equal this big threat on paper. Defenses would let Jackson rack up all these yards but how many times did he get in the end zone? When I played defense, the ultimate goal was to keep the other team out of the endzone. If i had to sacrifice yards underneath our 5 yards here, or 10 yards there, so be it. Let the workhorse run out of gas racking up these small gains, as long as he doesn't sniff that endzone. And Jackson rarely sniffed it for all the admirable work he put in.

                  Great offensive line and a Great Qb is what this team needs above all else. If we can get those two than we will be able to get away with mediocre backs and still win plenty of games. As long as you withhold the threat of the run then your passing game can take over the game.

                  Peyton Manning and Deuce Staley is way more threatening than Barry Sanders and Charlie Batch.


                  • #10
                    Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

                    It's just hard to believe that on a team that went 1-15, that has holes all over the joint and everyone knows it, that had one of the worst offenses in the team's history in a season where SJ tore it up, would get as much flak as they did from the front office for not addressing BACKUP RB.

                    I think there's a lot of fans losing perspective on how difficult it is to build a roster. I also think the St Louis media members that cover the team are some of the nation's worst; not only is the coverage bad, but the ridiculous overreactions lead me to believe they all base their opinions off the message boards.


                    • #11
                      Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

                      I kinda feel bad for SJax...he is going to have spent his entire career playing for a horrid team. Would be nice to deal him, get some serious picks and make the rebuilding session official.


                      • #12
                        Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

                        You can form opinions all you want but espn did a huge article on it right before the draft (im digging the article up as I type). It showed that teams who had the option of adding a RB or a new OT or OG, and added a RB showed better rushing improvement than those who added the lineman.


                        • #13
                          Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

                          Originally posted by SanDog View Post
                          It's just hard to believe that on a team that went 1-15, that has holes all over the joint and everyone knows it, that had one of the worst offenses in the team's history in a season where SJ tore it up, would get as much flak as they did from the front office for not addressing BACKUP RB.
                          Running backs are human and they often have a short life span. Take a look at Shaun Alexander of the Seattle Seachickens. The man was a beast for like a good 4-5 years. Than next thing you know it, bam! He's basically a broken man.

                          Running backs are probably the easiest position to fill in the NFL, especially a back up rb. A feared back will take a lot of pressure off a young QB like Bradford becuase the defense wont be able to blitz on every down for fear of the back breaking a big yardage play.


                          • #14
                            Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

                            Originally posted by mikhal5569 View Post
                            Running backs are human and they often have a short life span. Take a look at Shaun Alexander of the Seattle Seachickens. The man was a beast for like a good 4-5 years. Than next thing you know it, bam! He's basically a broken man.

                            Running backs are probably the easiest position to fill in the NFL, especially a back up rb. A feared back will take a lot of pressure off a young QB like Bradford becuase the defense wont be able to blitz on every down for fear of the back breaking a big yardage play.
                            And with Bradford as our qb and if he does well enough, maybe now teams won't stack the box and take a little pressure off jackson, but Jackson never had a problem with that anyways.. So we'll see just how well he does this year!


                            • #15
                              Re: Pressure Point: Preserving Jackson

                              The key for us will be finally getting our offensive respect back. Teams stack the box every play. If we start making their arses pay for the disrespect they'll have to reconsider. We get blitzed every play and don't take advantage of it. Once we start having that receiver who dominates one on one coverage, those blitzes will definetely ease up.


                              Related Topics


                              • psycho9985
                                Which Jackson will show up
                                by psycho9985
                                I'm not on the stephan Jackson band wagon,sure the guy gets yardage,but I'm not seeing it when the chips are down.I dont like the way he hops and skips around trying to find a hole,why cant the guy just run the play called.
                                I know our offensive line is in not so great shape right now,but I hope the coaches are talking to him.He needs to play smash mouth football.Jackson is big enough and strong enough to be a fullback and I wish he'd run with power at the line of scrimmage.Marshall faulk has the speed and moves to skip around and blast through a hole in the line,but Jackson doesnt.
                                -09-23-2006, 12:44 PM
                              • eldfan
                                Steven Jackson Set To Carry St. Louis Rams Once Again
                                by eldfan
                                by Seth Boster Correspondent Written on June 24, 2010

                                If you visit St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson's Web site,, you can watch in wonder as Jackson leg presses 225 pounds 90 times in two minutes.

                                In between all the snarls and winces of pain as his quads surely scorch, amidst the relentless beads of sweat that drop from his mean dreads to his brow, Jackson appears motivated.

                                Motivated, probably because he knows every rep that he pounds out in the two-minute crunch is essential. Just like every minute, every carry, every catch, every block that is expected of Jackson from the Rams is essential. Jackson's performance is the team's only chance of improving on a one-win season.

                                In St. Louis, the team really has no option but the 26-year-old Jackson, who has become the league's premier workhorse.

                                In Jackson's breakout year of 2006, the Rams handed the ball to him 346 times, and relied on him plenty through the aerial assault. The result: the league leader in yards from scrimmage and the team's leader in receptions.

                                Since then, Jackson has carried the ball a painful 814 times. Also, in the past three seasons Jackson has missed nine games because of nagging injuries.

                                Bumps and bruises have followed Jackson throughout his career as he's taken a heavy workload. Without a stable offensive line to protect him, or a passing game to support him, or even a worthy backup to grant him a break, Jackson has been the primary focus for opposing defenses.

                                Naturally, the Rams' finely-tuned machine has slowly been breaking down.

                                Or at least that's what it seemed. Jackson has battled through pain and, just this past year, couldn't have shone brighter as the lone star in St. Louis.

                                In 2009, Jackson played the final five of six games with a herniated disc in his back. He finished the season as the NFC's rushing leader, even after competing against eight- or nine-man boxes.

                                Jackson carried his team past the Lions after posting 149 yards rushing and a TD in the team's only win of the season. He later became the Rams' all-time leader in rushing attempts.

                                After a gutsy campaign, Jackson was given his second career Pro Bowl nod.

                                "He's just a class guy," head coach Steve Spagnuolo told the media after his prized runner received the honor. "I always held him in that regard, that kind of caliber player."

                                Currently, Jackson is en route to eclipsing another team record in rushing yards, needing 1,954 more. Most likely, that record is not part of Jackson's focus right now, though.

                                It is summer and the months are heated by the drama that emanates from the NFL offseason.

                                There are those players like Albert Haynesworth who are disgruntled even with the biggest jackpot of a contract.

                                -06-25-2010, 11:30 PM
                              • MauiRam
                                Jackson Carries Rams Into the Light ..
                                by MauiRam
                                By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
                                Posted 2 hours ago

                                It is said that out of darkness will emerge light. How quickly that light emerges depends on whether you move with confidence or tiptoe through the shadows.

                                Steven Jackson has never tiptoed through anything in his life. And though it’s taken longer than he would have liked, the eighth-year running back is on the verge of delivering the Rams out of the darkness and into the light.

                                It’s a task that many would choose not to take on for enduring the pain that goes with it would be too much for just about anyone to bear.

                                Jackson has been called many things in his career but there’s one common nickname he’s been called that he never quite grasped until he took the time during the offseason to wrap his head around it.

                                “It’s funny I have been referred to as a beast for quite some time and I said, ‘You know, I am going to look it up. What does the word beast mean?’” Jackson said. “And to give you a quick synopsis of how I look at it and how I thought of it is ‘a mammal that bears the weight of something and transports it.’ I feel like I have been a beast because I bear the weight of some tough times around St. Louis and I have carried it from the days of glory to now hopefully to a new age and a new version of the days of glory. And I have been the particular, chosen one to feel like maybe he’s the one strong enough to bring us through the darkness back to a point where (quarterback) Sam (Bradford) and these younger guys will bring us back to glory.”

                                Bearing the weight of an entire franchise’s struggle is a burden Jackson has carried for all of his seven seasons in the NFL. On closer inspection, it’s clear that Jackson’s sacrifice has gone well beyond simply being a part of a losing team.

                                In fact, he’s one of the last of his kind in the NFL, a running back willing and capable of taking on a full load in a league that grown more specialized by the season.

                                The job of the single running back carrying the load is one thing; the job of the single player carrying the hopes of a franchise on his back is another. Jackson has done both.

                                It’s a job Jackson believes he was chosen for, a job he was selected for by powers greater than a general manager or head coach.

                                “I think it’s a divine job not for the organization but for me, myself because I never knew some of the strong characteristics and the things that I believe in were within me until I had to go through some tough times,” Jackson said.

                                A DYING BREED

                                With each passing NFL season, the league evolves and changes in ways that consistently alter the way players and positions are perceived.

                                Today, in 2011, the NFL is almost universally viewed as a quarterback’s league, a passing league in which running backs can be found and deployed in a variety of ways and you can...
                                -09-07-2011, 10:01 AM
                              • MauiRam
                                Steven Jackson Enters Big Year ..
                                by MauiRam
                                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...
                                -05-10-2008, 10:28 PM
                              • sosa39rams
                                Steven Jackson
                                by sosa39rams
                                Some say he has lost a step, he is slower, he goes down to easily, and just isn't the same back that he used to be. If this is true, shouldn't we go out and acquire a new back? Well, none of us can prove that this is true.

                                Anyways, he isn't doing great this season. I am not too sure whether its him or the porous play by the offensive line; specifically Adam Goldberg.

                                So here is my question. Do you guys think we should trade him? He will be a free agent in a few seasons, and is only decreasing year after year. I am not too sure where I stand on this topic but in a couple years we will probably get nothing for SJAX. I would prefer to keep him though. He is the soul and heart of this team, and has done tons for this organization.

                                Also, what offers do you guys believe we would get? I'd assume somewhere like 2nd-4th ...most likely being a 3rd.
                                -11-28-2010, 07:44 PM