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NFL: Jackson is the ultimate decoy ..

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  • NFL: Jackson is the ultimate decoy ..

    THE TELEGRAPH, ALTON, ILL. | RON CLEMENTS


    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."

    Jackson did not have his normal lead blocker on the field in Denver. Jackson said he was "very disappointed" when fullback Mike Karney, Jackson's best friend, was inactive for the game. Karney was limited in Thursday's practice with a groin injury.

    "Due to circumstances, someone has to sacrifice," Jackson said. "It was unfortunate that Mike was that guy last Sunday. Hopefully we can get him back on the field as soon as possible."

    Shurmur said the decision was not performance-based.

    "The roster is dynamic and changes each week," Shurmur said. "When Mike's up and playing, he does a great job."

    Shurmur said there are more one-back sets in the NFL, but the Rams will still use two backs. Jackson said part of the reason St. Louis is using more "ace" sets has been more creativity in the offensive game plan because of Bradford. But because of the mindset of head coach Steve Spagnuolo, Jackson doesn't expect the offense to change too much.

    "I hope so, or else I'm in trouble next," Jackson quipped.

    After just six combined victories in the three previous seasons, Jackson said the Rams are having fun this year as they sit atop the NFC West.

    "It feels good to play football at this level and play games in December that mean something," Jackson said. "It's something that I'm looking forward to. Games are going to get bigger as the weeks go on.

    "But you have to win each game for them to get bigger. I think everyone's looking forward to the challenge. The locker room feels great right now."

    That doesn't mean Jackson whooped it up on the plane ride back from Denver.

    "I was asleep," Jackson admitted. "I had a pretty beat-up day. I was licking my wounds.

    "But whenever you can get a road win like that, respond back from 10-0 to take a commanding lead like we did, to hold off that last surge, it's a very impressive win for us. It's something we can build off of."

    NOTES: Captains for Sunday's game at Arizona are RB Steven Jackson , S Oshiomogho Atogwe, DT Gary Gibson and LB Chris Chamberlain. Not practicing Thursday was TE Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle). Also limited were CB Jerome Murphy (hamstring) and DT Darell Scott (foot). CB Justin King has been dealing with cramps the last couple of weeks and defensive coordinator Ken Flajole is hoping to have that issue resolved by Sunday.

    Even though the Civil War game between Oregon State and Oregon is this weekend, Jackson -- an Oregon State alum -- said there's no friendly animosity this week between he and QB A.J. Feeley, who went to Oregon. "I talk to him. He's my teammate," Jackson said.

    But with just the mention of the Civil War, Jackson shouted "Oregon State, man. Oregon State."

    Jackson just doesn't want Feeley to make a wager on the game, because Jackson will feel obligated to take it even though he's skeptical that his 5-6 Beavers can knock off the undefeated and top-ranked Ducks.

  • #2
    Re: NFL: Jackson is the ultimate decoy ..

    Jax is a class act. So many stars in the NFL want to get their numbers despite what is best for the team. Glad to have a team full of team players.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: NFL: Jackson is the ultimate decoy ..

      Originally posted by chucknbob View Post
      Jax is a class act. So many stars in the NFL want to get their numbers despite what is best for the team. Glad to have a team full of team players.
      Ding ding ding. He sure is a class act. Been a rams fan for over 12 years. Over the years he has definitely been added to my all time favorites. And believe me there is not much company there, just warner and bruce

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: NFL: Jackson is the ultimate decoy ..

        And some ram fans want to trade him???

        Comment

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        • r8rh8rmike
          Jackson Thinks Turnover Talk Is Backfiring On Rams
          by r8rh8rmike
          Jackson thinks turnover talk is backfiring on Rams
          By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
          12 hours, 19 minutes ago


          The winless Rams had three turnovers inside the Vikings 10 and had a fourth returned for a touchdown in last week’s 38-10 loss to Minnesota. St. Louis (0-5) has committed 10 turnovers the last three games and is near the bottom of the NFL with a minus-7 turnover differential heading into Sunday’s game at Jacksonville.

          “I think it’s one of those things that we on the field have become so conscious of and so uptight about it, that it’s backfired on us,” Jackson said Thursday.

          Jackson took responsibility for one of the fumbles last week when he missed connections on a handoff from Kyle Boller(notes). He has two lost fumbles thus far, so this week his strategy has been one of under-emphasis.

          “I’m going to go back to my regular routine of just playing loose and being myself and being a playmaker,” Jackson said. “I’ve never had a fumbling problem, knock on wood, and I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”

          The Rams have scored 34 points all season, lowest in the NFL. They made a lot of progress last week with a season-high 400 yards in total offense, only to be undone by the mistakes.

          Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said ball security is discussed multiple times every day, on the practice field, in meetings, after practice when reviewing game and practice tape.

          Eventually, the Rams expect it will pay off.

          “We’ll point out any and all ball-handling issues,” Shurmur said. “You usually get what you emphasize.”

          Better late than never, players believe they’re grasping the finer points of the new West Coast offense. Jackson is the focal point but several players have been getting more involved. Donnie Avery(notes) had five catches, including a 27-yard touchdown, in his best game of the season and three others caught five passes apiece.

          If the production continues with Marc Bulger(notes) back as the starting quarterback this week, it might mean more space for Jackson. He’s been impressed with the team attitude, with players following coach Steve Spagnuolo’s credo to never look back.

          “Guys around here feel like we’ve been putting in a lot of hard work for a long time and on Sunday things are not coming together,” Jackson said. “I think a lot of guys are selling out in practice more than we had before.

          “I think Sunday proved to a lot of us that we can play with a very talented team, and we showed spurts of really effective football.”
          -10-16-2009, 12:53 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
        • r8rh8rmike
          St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson Makes His Mark
          by r8rh8rmike
          St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson makes his mark

          BY JIM THOMAS
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          11/04/2009

          A day later than usual because of the bye week, the Rams looked at game film of Sunday's 17-10 triumph over Detroit. Take it from center Jason Brown, when it came to watching running back Steven Jackson, it was like watching a video game.

          "You know on video games where they have the special moves?" Brown said. "You can hit the 'turbo' button. You can hit the 'spin' button. You can hit the 'juke' button. Well, Steven has all of those buttons. And when you think that that juice is about to run out, he will continue to surprise you."

          Jackson had 149 yards worth of surprises against the Lions, the last 25 of which came on the game-winning touchdown at Ford Field. With the help of his blockers, Jackson was a human video game against Detroit. And Brown missed one button in his description: the "bam" button. Jackson bounced off tacklers like a pinball or ran over them.

          "Seventeen games is a long time," Jackson said, referring to the Rams' losing streak before Sunday's victory. "And that game was too close to let get away. I was willing to just give my all. If I would have fell down in that end zone, it would've been worth it. I was willing to give everything I had to make sure we won the game."

          Brown says quarterback Marc Bulger helped stoke that competitive fire in the huddle at the start of that game-winning drive.

          "It started with Bulger," Brown said. "He was stroking Steven's ego a little out there. He said, 'Hey guys, you've got the best running back in the league. You all do your job, he's definitely going to do his job.'

          "And you know what? That last drive we just kept pounding the rock."

          These days, few in the NFL pound the rock as well as Jackson. At the midpoint of the 2009 season, he's tied for the NFC rushing lead with Minnesota's Adrian Peterson with 784 yards. And he's tied for second overall in the NFL, trailing only Tennessee's Chris Johnson, who has 824 yards.

          Add his 186 receiving yards, and Jackson trails Peterson by a scant 3 yards — 973 to 970 — for the NFL lead in yards from scrimmage. There can be no doubting that he's at or near the top of the NFL pecking order at running back.

          "He's a premier back," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

          Even in the throes of a 1-7 season in St. Louis, Jackson seems to be earning respect nationwide. One such sign came at halftime of "Monday Night Football," when ESPN's Chris Berman awarded Jackson his weekly "game ball."

          It's not as if getting a "game ball" from a studio host equates to a lifetime achievement award. But it did show that on a weekend full of highlights and big performances...
          -11-03-2009, 11:13 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
        • r8rh8rmike
          Jackson Closing In On History
          by r8rh8rmike
          Jackson Closing in on History
          By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer


          Nearly from the moment he was drafted by the Rams on April 24, 2004, Steven Jackson has had a working knowledge of the legacy of running backs the franchise has employed.

          Jackson quickly became well aware of old timers like Dick Bass and Lawrence McCutcheon. And of course, his knowledge of Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (who was also his new teammate) ran deep.

          Long a student of the game, Jackson figured out early on that to leave his mark on the game he’d first have to leave an imprint on the franchise.

          “I am well aware of the history,” Jackson said. “But first things first is establishing yourself within the organization and I have had quite a task.”

          The task of catching and surpassing players of that magnitude has built up until now. On Sunday, when the Rams travel to take on Tampa Bay, Jackson needs just 32 yards to etch his name at the top of the record books and become the franchise’s all time leading rusher.

          Jackson currently sits at 7,214 rushing yards, trailing only Dickerson in that category after he surpassed Faulk in the team’s win against Seattle on Oct. 3.

          For a player who has done so much and has rarely been left without the means to come up with a pithy quote, the thought of reaching the summit of the Rams’ rushing annals actually leaves him almost speechless.

          “It will mean a lot,” Jackson said. “Now I am at the point where I just want to achieve it. I will probably be able to give a better quote afterwards.”

          For the past few weeks, Jackson has discussed the possibility of passing Dickerson but he also made it clear he would have preferred to do it in front of the home fans in St. Louis. Barring something unforeseen, Jackson will have to settle for doing it on the road and sharing the record with his teammates.

          That’s something Jackson will have no problem doing as he has been quick to give credit to all of those who have blocked for him in his six-plus years with the Rams.

          “It’s history but I don’t only share it with (the offensive line),” Jackson said. “I share it with so many that has come within these seven years of my career so each one of them has a little part of this. So it’s going to be special. Eric Dickerson means so much to this organization and to the league. He has a record that still stands 20 or 30 years down the line so it’s going to be pretty special when we do break it.”

          And Jackson was not hesitant to identify the player with which he’ll first share it. Fullback Mike Karney was brought aboard in part at Jackson’s behest during the 2009 free agent period.

          Jackson had posted his best season in 2006 with fullback Madison Hedgecock blocking for him and had not had another true road grader in front of him since Hedgecock...
          -10-21-2010, 09:52 PM
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