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Jackson was ready, but didn't play

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  • Jackson was ready, but didn't play

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    TEMPE, Ariz. - One of the more bizarre occurrences of an increasingly bizarre Rams season was the sight of Steven Jackson - the first running back selected in the 2004 draft - standing on the Rams' sidelines.

    All day long.

    Even though his bruised right knee was deemed healthy, Jackson did not play in Sunday's 31-7 loss to Arizona.

    "He was healthy," Martz said. "They blitzed us just about every snap the first half, and you need to have a guy in there that kind of knows what's going on. We felt like with the blitz pickups, that we could use Marshall in some of the pass routes."

    So Jackson was not ready to be used in such a role?

    "No, that's not what I'm saying," Martz said. "There's nothing wrong with Marshall, I guess, is probably what I'm trying to tell you."

    Martz, who obviously was disappointed in the Rams' run blocking, then added: "Is Steven going to make the difference in that game by being in there? No. Whether Marshall loses four yards or Steven loses four yards, which one you want? It just doesn't matter at that point. Your best player's Marshall right now. How'd you like his third-and-one run?"

    In one of the few highlights for the Rams on Sunday, Faulk made a spinning move to fight for extra yardage and a first down on a third-and-one carry in the third quarter. But that was about it for the running game.

    The Rams gained a season-low 22 rushing yards on 10 carries - all by Faulk. The lack of output was particularly puzzling, because the Cardinals have one of the league's worst run defenses. Over the past six games, the Big Red have allowed 167 rushing yards per contest and 5.1 yards a carry.

    Martz says he generally leaves it up to running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery on how much Faulk plays and how much Jackson plays.

    "Marshall didn't want to come out," Martz said. "He was playing fine. ... That's not an issue to me."

    Jackson basically declined comment after the game.

    "I didn't play," he said. "I've got nothing to say."

    When asked if he was surprised that he played the entire game, Faulk said, "I didn't pay any attention to it. Things were just kind of going on out there. I didn't have time to kind of explain to (Jackson) what was going on. So I didn't want to just throw him out there and not alert him to the different things that were happening out there."

    In the early going, the Cardinals gave the Rams a lot of different looks with their defensive front seven - looks that the Rams had not anticipated. Faulk said he was trying to figure out himself what the Big Red were doing, in consultation with Montgomery.

    "They mixed it up pretty good," Faulk said.

    Polley is ejected

    A disappointing season for linebacker Tommy Polley didn't get any better Sunday. Polley was ejected early in the fourth quarter after shoving Arizona defensive tackle Russell Davis in the face. Davis was standing on the sideline with his helmet off at the time.

    "I don't know what happened," Martz said. "There's no excuse to be ejected. ... I need to talk to Tommy about that. I'm not happy about that at all."

    Cason sits

    Despite returning a kickoff for 30 yards last week in Carolina, a season best for the Rams, Aveion Cason was among the Rams' seven pregame inactives against Arizona. But with Faulk and Jackson dressed, Martz felt he still needed Arlen Harris ready and didn't feel like he could dress four halfbacks.

    Without safety Aeneas Williams in the lineup, DeJuan Groce took over nickel back duties in the secondary.

    Butler cramps up

    There were no injuries of note after the game. Cornerback Jerametrius Butler left early in the third quarter because of dehydration, but returned at the start of the fourth quarter.

  • #2
    Re: Jackson was ready, but didn't play

    Man, that ticks me off. What did Marshall do yesterday to warrant him deciding that he would stay in the game? I would have started Jackson in the second half and given him a chance to get things going with the running game.

    Just more Martz inflexibility (see my other thread on Martz).


    • #3
      Re: Jackson was ready, but didn't play

      I don't think Earl Campbell in his heyday could run behind the current Rams O line.


      • #4
        Re: Jackson was ready, but didn't play

        Well, one could speculate on that if they wish, but one thing's certain...

        Cambell would have had exactly 0 yards if he, like Jackson, remained on the sidelines.


        • #5
          Re: Jackson was ready, but didn't play

          Martz has too much trust in Marshall. He allows Marshall to make the decision. Marshall was a great player, with a huge amount of insight, but heís not in a position to be neutral with regard to evaluating his own ability.

          Unfortunately when you look at the facts, Marshallís talent has eroded over the years. Marshall no longer practices at Macomb, he seldom practices during the week, and he still canít make it through a season without injury. Itís a shame when our heroes get old. But with a cap figure of 7M a year, heís got to either renegotiate, or get cut.

          Martz should demote Marshall to a third down specialist, at a salary of maybe 500k per year.

          The only reason I can think of that Jackson didnít play is that Marshall didnít want to come out.


          • #6
            Re: Jackson was ready, but didn't play

            Well 10 carries for the running game ain't worth much either. With Martz's attitude that the ball carriers are going to lose 4 yards a carry, it's no wonder there are so few running plays called. And this is against a team that is ranked way down there on run defense.

            I would have put Jackson in. He looked real good the last time he was allowed to run.

            Faulk's first down effort was impressive. He still has a few moves in him.


            • #7
              Re: Jackson was ready, but didn't play

              Originally posted by UtterBlitz
              And this is against a team that is ranked way down there on run defense.
              People keep using this stat but ignore the stats of the game. While the Cardinals do rank in the pathetic level in terms of run defense, they certainly looked capable of defending the run yesterday. Take away the one carry for twelve yards, and on nine carries, Faulk gained ten yards. Does that run defense sound equally pathetic considering that number?

              The Cardinals came to play yesterday, and because of weakness on the offensive line, weakness at the quarterback position, weakness on the defense, and weakness in the coaching staff, the Rams had little hope of making something happen.

              To address the article, I am also bewildered as to why Jackson wasn't used. Reading what everyone was saying, it sounds like it's more than just Martz working the post-game spin on this issue. Faulk's statements sound a bit skeptical to me, to be honest. He's making it sound like he and Montgomery were having their own little tactics session which Steven wasn't allowed to listen to, since Marshall says he needed time to explain it to Steven. Why not just let him in on what's going on with the little meeting?


              • #8
                Re: Jackson was ready, but didn't play

                The statements made by Martz and Faulk here are truely bizarre. All of a sudden Martz doesn't have the say-so in who's running the ball? Are you kidding me? And what's with the flippant comment , "Whether Marshall loses four yards or Steven loses four yards, which one you want?", like it's a given that any attempt is going to be a loss?? Is this like giving up on your team? And we are now to believe Faulk decides when or when not to send Jackson in the game?? I must be missing something here. If these quotes are accurate, this team is in far worse shape than I ever thought. Does anyone else see this stuff as disturbing?

                I was at the game yesterday and could not understand what was up with Jackson because he was sitting on the bench looking ready to go the entire game. Well I guess I know now that Martz, Montgomery and Faulk decided to take Jackson out of the mix without so much as a single carry. This can't be right can it?


                • #9
                  Re: Jackson was ready, but didn't play

                  That's the kind of stuff I was seeing when I read the article, Mike. And it's the kind of stuff I'd like to see the FO do something about this offseason.


                  Related Topics


                  • RamWraith
                    Jackson is playing key rushing role
                    by RamWraith
                    By Bill Coats
                    Of the Post-Dispatch
                    Tuesday, Oct. 19 2004

                    When Rams running back Marshall Faulk bulled into the end zone from the 1-yard
                    line in the second quarter Monday night, it marked the 100th rushing touchdown
                    of his 11-year NFL career.

                    That's 99 more than rookie Steven Jackson has recorded. But despite that
                    disparity, Jackson more and more is becoming an important contributor to the
                    team's attack, as he and Faulk increasingly share time in the backfield.

                    "Coach (Mike) Martz and his staff are doing a great job in involving me in the
                    offense," Jackson said after the Rams turned aside Tampa Bay 28-21 at the
                    sold-out Edward Jones Dome. "They want to utilize my talent, so every
                    opportunity I get out there, I try to make something happen."

                    Faulk and Jackson split the ball-carrying duties virtually down the middle
                    against the Buccaneers. Faulk had 15 attempts for 40 yards, and Jackson carried
                    13 times for 48 yards. Each also had three receptions, Faulk picking up 29
                    yards and Jackson 30.

                    Jackson rambled 28 yards with a short pass on a third-and-14 play early in the
                    fourth quarter that kept the Rams' game-winning drive alive. The play took them
                    to the Tampa Bay 42-yard line, and three plays later quarterback Marc Bulger
                    connected with wide receiver Torry Holt for a 36-yard touchdown and a 28-21

                    "We needed the drive to keep going," Jackson said. "I caught the ball, I saw
                    the yardstick, and I knew I had quite a ways to go. I just had to make a hard
                    run out of it."

                    Jackson had 10 carries for 46 yards two weeks ago in the Rams' 24-14 victory in
                    San Francisco. Last week in Seattle, he tacked on 64 more yards on five
                    attempts as the Rams rallied for a 33-27 overtime win.

                    "I feel like a guy who's contributing, helping this team win, and the more I
                    get in there, the more plays I can make," said Jackson, the team's first-round
                    draft pick in April. "If you have to share time, I wouldn't pick any other guy
                    in the National Football League."

                    Faulk has served as a low-key mentor for Jackson, an Oregon State product.
                    "It's on-the-job training," Jackson said. "If I make a mistake, he coaches me
                    up. But he doesn't over-teach me. He lets me go out there and do what I know
                    how to do."

                    Fullback Joey Goodspeed said he's seen Jackson's confidence building over time.
                    "He knows what he's doing, and he's a lot more aggressive," Goodspeed said.
                    "Steven brings that youth and excitement, and he gives Marshall a break; you're
                    able to keep two running backs fresh. And they're both different runners....
                    -10-19-2004, 01:11 PM
                  • RamWraith
                    Rams' Jackson still ready to run
                    by RamWraith
                    By R.B. Fallstrom
                    The Associated Press

                    ST. LOUIS - Steven Jackson is looking forward to an encore of last week's career-best 148-yard game despite a right knee that has a partially torn ligament and a bruise.
                    The St. Louis Rams might need it on Sunday in the season finale.

                    ``I'm hoping I can do the same thing I did on Monday night,'' the former Oregon State star said Thursday. ``Coming off a game like that, kind of hot, you want to get out there and see if you have the same things going for you.''

                    But coach Mike Martz said Marshall Faulk again would start Sunday against the Jets (10-5) in a game that carries playoff implications for both teams. Faulk and Jackson were together in the backfield on the second play of a 20-7 victory over the Eagles on Monday, and the pair combined for 202 yards on 41 carries.

                    Faulk has 759 yards rushing and a 4.0-yard average and Jackson, the first running back taken in this year's draft, has 644 yards and a 5.2-yard average. Faulk's streak of receptions ended at 158 games in the Eagles game - the streak had led active players.

                    ``It kind of tickles me in some respect that people were always on me about making sure Marshall got the ball,'' Martz said. ``Now we don't want Marshall to have the ball, we want Steven to have the ball.

                    ``I understand that, but Marshall is a good player and he's going to start and continue to do the things we always do.''

                    Jackson was injured in the fourth quarter. An MRI exam the following day showed just a bruise with limited swelling.

                    When Jackson first injured the knee three weeks ago, a considerable amount of fluid was drained the next day.

                    ``It shocked him,'' Martz said. ``I think it scared him more than anything else because of the way it happened, but it's just a superficial bruise, really.''

                    The Rams can clinch the NFC West with a victory and a loss by the Seattle Seahawks (8-7) later Sunday. They also can clinch a wild-card berth with a victory combined with a loss by the Vikings (8-7), or with a victory along with a tie in the Saints-Panthers game that starts at the same time as the St. Louis-New York game.

                    ``It kind of sums the season,'' Jackson said. ``Ups and downs, and through all of it we still have a chance to come out victorious and hopefully with a division title.''
                    -01-01-2005, 04:59 AM
                  • RamWraith
                    Steven Jackson has sore knee, is expected to play
                    by RamWraith
                    By Jim Thomas
                    Of the Post-Dispatch
                    Tuesday, Dec. 28 2004

                    Three weeks ago, running back Steven Jackson was walking on crutches because of
                    a swollen ankle the day after the Rams' 16-6 victory over San Francisco.

                    As was the case against the *****, Jackson couldn't finish Monday night's game
                    with Philadelphia after banging his knee on the artificial turf at the Edward
                    Jones Dome. But this time there were no crutches and, apparently, little to no
                    swelling in Jackson's knee.

                    An MRI exam Tuesday revealed no structural damage, only a soft tissue bruise.

                    "He's fine," Martz said. "There's no damage. In fact, there's a significant
                    healing from the tear."

                    The tear? Apparently Jackson suffered a slightly torn medial collateral
                    ligament in his right knee against San Francisco. Such injuries do not require
                    surgery and basically heal with time.

                    In any event, Martz expects Jackson to play in Sunday's regular-season finale
                    against the New York Jets.

                    "He probably will," Martz said. "I think it was more just aggravating a sore

                    Jackson made the last of his 24 carries against Philadelphia with just over 10
                    minutes to play. Before calling it a night, Jackson rushed for a career-high
                    148 yards and a touchdown in the Rams' 20-7 victory.

                    "He was terrific," Martz said. "He looks like a great runner to me. That first
                    series in there, we were handing the ball off to him and he was running through
                    them, around them, every which way you can. He's a terrific back, and the
                    offensive line did a terrific job."

                    With Jackson getting six carries and Marshall Faulk four, the Rams ran the ball
                    10 consecutive times on their opening drive. When asked if he could recall a
                    situation in which he ran the ball that many times in a row, Martz paused and
                    replied: "No."

                    He came close Dec. 12 against Carolina, calling nine straight running plays -
                    all involving Arlen Harris - on a drive that began late in the third quarter.

                    Before Monday night was over, the Rams had run the ball 44 times for 209 yards
                    against the Eagles - both season highs. So why such a conviction to run the
                    ball against Philadelphia?

                    "Whenever we've had success against Philadelphia, we've run the ball well,"
                    Martz said. "You start getting into a passing game with them, then they sack
                    you and create bad plays. Knock your quarterback out. And all that stuff.

                    "I didn't think we would do that well (running), obviously. But as long as we
                    kept going - it's just like throwing the ball. If you keep completing it, you
                    -12-30-2004, 05:01 AM
                  • RamWraith
                    Jackson and Faulk may be too banged up to play
                    by RamWraith
                    By Jim Thomas
                    Of the Post-Dispatch
                    Wednesday, Dec. 08 2004

                    Rams running back Marshall Faulk practiced on Wednesday. Steven Jackson didn't.
                    And Arlen Harris got plenty of work with the starters.

                    But as to who will start at running back, and how much each of them will play
                    Sunday against Carolina, well, that remains very much up in the air.

                    Despite giving an extremely qualified nod in Harris' direction as his probable
                    starter, coach Mike Martz said Wednesday that Faulk and Jackson and their
                    bruised knees will be available to play against the Panthers.

                    "Steven will be ready to go," Martz said. "So will Marshall."

                    Jackson suffered his injury Sunday against San Francisco en route to a 119-yard
                    rushing day. There is no structural damage or ligament problems, Martz said.
                    But the knee swelled up overnight Sunday. As a result, excess fluid had to be
                    drained from the knee. Jackson watched Wednesday practice in sweats.

                    "He feels a whole lot better," Martz said. "I'd like to give him some reps here
                    during the week. Hopefully on Friday, and maybe a little bit (today). But we'll
                    just see. ... We're going to do the right thing by him physically."

                    Reading between the lines, it seems that Martz would like to rest Faulk's knee
                    one more week if possible. But while Jackson was watching, Faulk was getting
                    some work with the first unit Wednesday in practice.

                    "I wish he didn't" practice, Martz said. "Especially this time of week. I'd
                    rather he do a little more work (Thursday), and then back off on Friday."

                    Jackson isn't sure when he injured his knee against the *****. But one thing
                    came through loud and clear Wednesday: He's no fan of the artificial surface at
                    the Edward Jones Dome.

                    "That surface there is unforgiving," Jackson said. "You're basically taking two
                    hits on the play. Not only are you getting hit by the defender, but you're
                    taking quite a blow hitting that turf. These next two weeks, I'm happy we're on

                    Following the Carolina game, the Rams play Dec. 19 at Arizona.

                    Despite being in some discomfort Wednesday, Jackson sounded as if there was no
                    doubt about his playing status against the Panthers. "It's all right," he said.
                    "I'll be there."

                    Jackson said he probably has spent more time in the training room getting
                    treatment this week than the rest of the season combined. Jackson was listed as
                    questionable, with Faulk probable, on the Rams' first official injury report of
                    the week.

                    With Faulk hurting and the season at a critical stage, Jackson feels...
                    -12-09-2004, 04:30 AM
                  • RamsFan16
                    Camp tour: Rams' tough Jackson takes torch from aging Faulk
                    by RamsFan16
                    Camp tour: Rams' tough Jackson takes torch from aging Faulk

                    Pete Prisco Aug. 27, 2005
                    By Pete Prisco
                    CBS Senior Writer
                    Tell Pete your opinion!

                    Rams: Five things to know

                    ST. LOUIS -- For all the yardage and points the St. Louis Rams have put up during the Mike Martz era of offensive football, they've always been viewed as one of the softer teams in the league, a pretty point-machine that didn't have the toughness to pound the ball when it needed to do so.

                    When you finish a season ranked 29th in the league in rushing, which the Rams did in 2004, that's a hard reputation to shake.

                    Steven Jackson rushed for 673 yards on just 134 attempts last season. (Getty Images)
                    Steven Jackson rushed for 673 yards on just 134 attempts last season. (Getty Images)
                    That is about to change.

                    Martz still prefers the pass -- and for that he is to be saluted -- but there are 231 reasons why he's about to lean more about the power running game than at any time in his tenure with the team. That number 231 is the weight for starting running back Steven Jackson, who takes over in that role from veteran Marshall Faulk.

                    Faulk is on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he will get there with an amazing cutting ability and speed that allowed him to turn what should have been a 12-yard run into a 70-yard touchdown.

                    Jackson is all about power, which is something the Rams haven't had in their backfield since the Jerome Bettis days.

                    Finesse is about to go bye-bye.

                    "He brings the power," Rams receiver Torry Holt said. "He's a hard, tough back. He's like Eddie George with more speed and burst. He brings another air of toughness to our side of the ball."

                    Looking at Jackson, it's clear he's going to be a heck of a tough runner to tackle for opposing defenses. At 6-2, he is thick and looks even bigger than his listed height and weight. Thinking of him coming at you full speed isn't a soothing thought.
                    St. Louis Rams
                    Out of Nowhere Man
                    DB Corey Ivy
                    When the Rams brought Corey Ivy into camp, they weren't too sure he'd make their team. As it turns out, he might be their nickel back. He has made a lot of plays in camp, and has been one of the pleasant surprises. At 5-8, he's spent six years in the league without much fanfare, playing for New England and Tampa Bay. He doesn't have a career interception, but that may change in 2005.
                    Five things you should know

                    As a rookie last season, he showed the toughness to run inside, but he also showed the burst to rip off the long runs. Martz stuck with Faulk as his starter -- some said it was because he has a soft spot in his heart when it comes to Faulk -- but eventually Jackson became the starter before knee problems...
                    -09-05-2005, 03:24 PM