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  • Jackson eager to haul ball for Rams

    By Bill Coats

    It was a long seven months ago that Rams coach Mike Martz designated Steven Jackson as his No. 1 running back. Since then, Jackson has had the second Sunday of September on his mind.

    "It's been a while, yeah," Jackson said. "This Sunday is going to be full of excitement for me. ... Pregame, I know I'm going to have the jitters. But after a while, I'm pretty sure I'm going to calm down."

    Jackson, the team's first-round draft choice in 2004, started three times last year. But until Martz made his announcement in February, Jackson was perched behind Marshall Faulk on the depth chart.

    Now, with the 32-year-old Faulk designated for a complementary role, the Rams' running game rests in the hands of Jackson, a 6-foot-2, 231-pound Oregon State product. And he can't wait to reward Martz's trust, starting with Sunday's regular-season opener in San Francisco.

    "I have plenty of goals for this year, not only individually, but for the team," said Jackson, 22. "I think we're fully capable of accomplishing those."

    Jackson was a bit cagey when discussing his own expectations.

    "If I could break 1,000 (rushing) yards, that'd be good. I've never done that," he said. "And 1,500 yards would be an excellent year. Me personally, I want more than that."

    Despite playing on a balky knee that was "cleaned up" during offseason surgery, Jackson piled up 673 yards in 134 carries last year, a gaudy 5.0-yard average. He also caught 19 passes for 189 yards.

    In the preseason this summer, Jackson had 32 carries for 215 yards, a 6.7 average. Healthy and primed, Jackson said his first assignment Sunday would be keeping his emotions in check.

    "That's going to be the biggest thing," he said. "Of course, I want to go out there and make big plays and I want to help my team win. But when you calm yourself down and just let the game come to you, that's when things happen for you."

    But will Martz, who loves to throw the ball, truly commit to the running game?

    "You never know what to expect from Mike," Jackson said. "It's up to me, when I do have a chance to run, to make something happen. And that's what I plan on doing."

    And if he thinks he isn't getting the ball enough, Jackson said he wouldn't hesitate to confront Martz - even early in the game.

    "I won't wait till halftime to say it," Jackson said, laughing. "I think a lot of people know how I feel about running the ball."

    That's just fine with the coach.

    "I'd be disappointed if he didn't do that," Martz said. "That's what he's used to and that's what he wants. And of course, that's what you want in there."

    One 49er who might be not be so enthusiastic about seeing Jackson getting the lion's share of the work is safety Mike Rumph. He tried to arm-tackle Jackson last year, and wound up needing two operations and missing the last 12 games of the *****' 2-14 season.

    "I remember that play; I see it in my sleep," Rumph told reporters this week in San Francisco. "I remember thinking at the time, 'Why am I doing this?' But I stuck out my arm to try to trip him.

    "When I was running off the field, I didn't even want to look at it, because I knew it was bent pretty bad."

    Jackson said that although he didn't remember the play, "it's been brought up a lot, especially this week. You never go out intentionally trying to hurt anyone. We all understand this is our livelihood, and guys do want to play.

    "What happened to Mike was unfortunate. But that's the game of football."

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  • Rambos
    Jackson Ready to Carry Load
    by Rambos
    Jackson Ready to Carry Load
    Thursday, September 8, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    There is little doubt about the lasting impression Steven Jackson left on the ***** during his rookie season.

    And that’s not even counting his 119-yard breakout performance in the second meeting with San Francisco.

    In case any of those ***** forget this week what Jackson is capable of, they can turn to cornerback turned safety Mike Rumph and ask him what he remembers about his first meeting with Jackson.

    "I remember thinking at the time, 'Why am I doing this?'” Rumph told the Associated Press. “But I stuck out my arm to try to trip him. When I was running off the field, I didn't even want to look at it; because I knew it was (broken) pretty bad."

    This would be Rumph’s attempt at arm tackling the running back known around Rams Park as “Train.” As Jackson burst up the middle with the ball, Rumph dived at him, sticking his arm directly in the path of Jackson’s churning legs. In other words, Rumph’s arm was on the tracks as the train came through.

    The result was a broken arm and a spot on the injured list for the rest of the season for Rumph. Jackson didn’t recall the play, but said he felt bad about what happened to Rumph.

    “I don’t remember,” Jackson said. “But I remember it being brought up a lot, especially this week. Like I told the San Francisco media, you never go out and try to hurt anyone. We all understand this is our livelihood and guys do want to play and the biggest thing for me is just to protect myself at all times. What happened to Mike was unfortunate but that’s the game of football.”

    Still, even Jackson was willing to admit that arm tackling him is probably not the best approach to bringing him down.

    Rumph should get plenty of opportunities to tackle Jackson again Sunday when the Rams and ***** open the regular season at Monster Park. This time Jackson is the starting running back and will probably get more than his share of the work.

    After a rookie season in which he shared time with Marshall Faulk, Jackson will start the season as the top guy this year. In his limited time last season, Jackson ran for 673 yards on 134 carries, an average of 5 yards per attempt.

    Those numbers would have been satisfying for many rookie backs, but not Jackson who is hoping that the normally pass-happy Rams offense will make a commitment to him.

    The confident Jackson is not scared to let the coaches know when he isn’t getting the ball. So what happens if it’s halftime and Jackson hasn’t gotten the touches he would like to get?

    “I wouldn’t wait ‘til halftime to say it,” Jackson said. “I think a lot of people know how I feel about running the ball. I also understand when you have the likes of Torry and Isaac and Kevin and Mac we do want to...
    -09-08-2005, 03:12 PM
  • RamWraith
    Jackson eager for his chance to shine
    by RamWraith
    Running back hopes to be a workhorse

    ST. LOUIS - Running back Steven Jackson has been anxiously awaiting the St. Louis Rams' opener against the San Francisco ***** on Sunday ever since coach Mike Martz announced that he was the team's No. 1 running back this spring.

    "It has been a while," Jackson said. "This Sunday here is going to be a thrilling assignment for me. I have a lot of people coming up from Las Vegas and Oregon, so I'll have the family support that I need."

    Jackson, a Las Vegas native who played for Oregon State, shared playing time with Marshall Faulk as a rookie last season and has lofty goals for his second NFL season.

    "Fifteen hundred yards would be an excellent year," Jackson said. "Me personally, I want more than that."

    Jackson paused for a second, and then gave a more humble objective.

    "If I could break 1,000, that would be good," Jackson said. "I've never done that yet either. I have a lot of goals that I haven't accomplished yet, and I plan on starting it off this Sunday."

    The Rams ran the ball 381 times last season. Only Oakland (328 rushes) and Philadelphia (376) had fewer rushing attempts.

    Jackson said he was confident that Martz would be more committed to the running game this season.

    "You never know what to expect from Mike," Jackson said. "As long as I keep putting up the numbers that I have been putting up, we can have the argument -- and by we, I mean the media -- that you can hand the ball off a little bit more.

    "It's up to me. I have to make something happen when I run with it, and that's what I plan on doing."

    Jackson isn't going to be bashful about asking for the ball if he's only got a half dozen carries at halftime.

    "I won't wait until halftime to say it," Jackson said. "I think a lot of people know how I feel about running the ball.

    "I also understand that when we have the likes of Torry (Holt), Isaac (Bruce), Kevin (Curtis) and Mac (Shaun McDonald), we do want to spread the ball out to those guys, too. You have to be a little selfish, and at times, you have to be a little giving."

    Martz said he can appreciate Jackson's self-confidence.

    "Receivers like to tell you that they want the ball, too," Martz said. "That's just the way it is. I'd be disappointed if he didn't do that. That's what he is used to, and that's what he wants. That's what you want in there."

    Jackson rushed for 215 yards on 32 carries -- an average of 6.7 yards per carry -- during the preseason. He had 14 carries for 108 yards in the Rams' win over the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football.

    "He's going good," Rams...
    -09-09-2005, 01:06 PM
  • RamWraith
    Jackson feeling like a free man
    by RamWraith
    He didn't always see eye-to-eye with Martz

    ST. LOUIS - There have been times over the past two seasons when St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson felt like he was locked up in former coach Mike Martz's doghouse.

    "At times, I kind of felt that way," Jackson said. "For whatever reason it was, I don't know. It doesn't help having the guy who took him to the top still around the locker room. It is whatever it is. Me and Marshall (Faulk), we get along great, and for whatever reason, I wasn't getting my appropriate touches."

    Jackson rushed for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He had 254 carries for the season, but he had 20 or more carries in only three games. He had only two games with 20 or more rushing attempts during his rookie season in 2004.

    Jackson took his complaint about being underutilized to the media after getting only 11 carries in a 24-9 loss to the Washington Redskins on Dec. 4.

    "No, I haven't, but you can," Jackson said when asked if he had talked to any of the Rams' coaches about his lack of carries. "Give me the ball."

    On Wednesday, Jackson, who is taking part in the Rams' offseason conditioning program, said he met with Martz in attempt to clear the air.

    "You don't want to be in the doghouse with the head coach, especially when that's the guy who is calling plays," Jackson said. "You don't want to get in the doghouse with a guy like Coach Martz.

    "At the same time, as a professional, you ask him, 'If there is a problem, can we solve it and get on with it.' We did sit down and state forth what the problems was, and then move on. But, at times, when we were in the heat of battle in games, I wasn't getting my touches."

    Jackson said he expects to be handed the ball more often next season under new coach Scott Linehan.

    "The front office had a chance to hire a guy that they wanted to bring in," Jackson said of Linehan. "I think everyone is talking about making me the focal point.

    "Two years ago when I was drafted that's what the plan was. We knew eventually that the team was going to be geared around me, and now it finally seems to be coming to the forefront. Now I have to show up on Sunday. That's not a hard thing to do."

    Jackson said he's confident that he won't be collecting dust next season after seeing how Linehan rode running backs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown last season as the offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins.

    Brown had 207 carries for 907 yards, while Williams had a 168 carries for 743 yards.

    "The way he used Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, and the running backs from Minnesota before that, he's shown that he likes to run," Jackson said. "I'm pretty...
    -03-31-2006, 05:06 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams' Jackson in search of new ground
    by RamWraith
    By Tom Weir, USA TODAY

    ST. LOUIS — As a student of architecture who's planning a trip to Italy next year, St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson knows Rome wasn't built in a day.
    But Jackson isn't patient about the delay in his plan to erect a running legacy in the NFL. In nine games last season, he had 17 or fewer carries, and St. Louis was a miserable 1-8 in those contests.

    That's why Jackson lets out a laugh when asked whether he's the Ram who's happiest to see Scott Linehan replacing Mike Martz as St. Louis' coach.

    "I'll try to say this nicely," said Jackson, putting down a fork in midmeal at the Rams' training-camp cafeteria. "I wasn't happy because Mike Martz was losing his job. I was happy because I felt I was going to get to start my career over."

    In the waning years of St. Louis' pass-happy, "Greatest Show on Turf" era under Martz, Jackson felt left out. With 1,046 rushing yards in 15 games last season, Jackson did manage St. Louis' first 1,000-yard running season since Marshall Faulk's in 2001, but he felt there was plenty more ground that could have been gained.

    The conflict peaked after a loss to the Washington Redskins on December 4, when Jackson had only 11 carries. Jackson's complaints to the media led to one headline that read: "Give me the damn ball."

    Jackson now contends that wasn't an exact quote and says his words "kind of got twisted." But he also added, "I didn't mind."

    On his issues with Martz, Jackson said: "We could go back and forth all day. He has problems with me; I have problems with him."

    But when reminded that Martz said Jackson needed to be ready to play more if he wanted the workhorse role, Jackson readily admitted, "That's truthful."

    Jackson is focused on improving his durability.

    "I'm getting that at this camp," he said. "Since we started, it's been full pads every day," even on 100-degree days.

    St. Louis will have a more balanced attack than the one that passed 61.2% of the time last season, Linehan said.

    New offensive coordinator Greg Olson says much of his planning has focused on "how are we going to make sure Steven Jackson touches the ball 20 times a game? ... I think that's a good starting number."

    Entering his third season, Jackson has goals of 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns. He makes no secret that he wants the fame that would accompany those numbers.

    "I don't need to be a household name because I want to be recognized," Jackson said. "I want to be a household name because I believe I have a gift."

    The obvious part of that gift is the bruising style of the 6-2, 231-pound Jackson. In one of only two games in which he carried 25 times last season,...
    -08-08-2006, 05:05 AM
  • Nick
    Jackson Makes His Presence Felt
    by Nick
    Jackson Makes His Presence Felt
    Sunday, August 29, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Over, around, through. Pick a preposition and it probably applies to Steven Jackson’s running style.

    The rookie running back from Oregon State, who played well in the Rams’ first two preseason games, made his official announcement to the rest of the NFL that he is going to be a force sooner than later.

    St. Louis coach Mike Martz said he is impressed with the strides Jackson has made.

    “The more you give him the ball, the stronger he gets,” Martz said. “He’s like a typical USC tailback. The more you give him, the hungrier they get and they just keep rolling. I think safeties get tired of hitting him after awhile.”

    Jackson left Washington’s defense with a different shade of skin: black and blue Friday night at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis’ 28-3 win. Jackson finished his evening with a little more than five minutes left. He was efficient, bruising and most of all effective in racking up 125 yards on 25 carries, adding a touchdown for good measure.

    Ask Jackson to describe his running game and it is likely you will receive a variety of answers. He makes no qualms about his propensity for taking on defenders in the open field with little more than a dropped shoulder.

    Quarterback Chris Chandler said he hasn’t been around many backs that can drive forward and finish runs the way Jackson does.

    “That piles moves forward when he hits it,” Chandler said. “He’s got a ways to go, but he has a great start.”
    Jackson said he likes the different aspects to his game, but he takes the most pride in leaving cleat marks on a defender’s chest.

    “That’s the main ingredient in my game,” Jackson said. “That’s why the Rams brought me here, to add a little bit more of a downhill attack in their offense.”

    Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 231 pounds, the chiseled Jackson is blessed with more than power.

    Numerous times, Jackson has shown impressive finesse moves, such as his jump cut, where he takes a little hop to one side of the defender, adjusts his pad level and moves forward. Jackson also possesses enough speed to outrun most defenders. His ability to mix running styles is just one reason he was the first running back taken in the 2004 NFL Draft.
    “I know a big part of my game is being so big and powerful, but at the same time I do have quick feet and I can get hit the holes,” Jackson said. “That’s another thing that can throw a defender off my game.”

    Jackson has also displayed a soft pair of hands that make him a developing duel-threat back. In 36 games at Oregon State, Jackson rushed for 3,625 yards and 39 touchdowns. He also caught 66 passes for 680 yards and six touchdowns.

    Jackson entered the draft a year early and the Rams traded up with Cincinnati...
    -08-29-2004, 09:47 PM