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The Rams Like To Feed Their Beast, Too

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2012 – 6:59 am

It’s not been often when Rams RB Steven Jackson has gone under the radar in his life. He’s been a standout performer on the football field at every level of play, and he already ranks as the leading rusher in Rams franchise history.

But under the radar is exactly where Jackson has been in the days leading up to this weekend’s Vikings-Rams showdown. The RB de jour is of course Adrian Peterson, as he pursues the 2,000-yard mark and has set his sights on topping another Rams RB – Eric Dickerson and his single-season rushing record. And when the conversation has centered on the Rams, the focus is typically on their 2nd-ranked pass rush or on their QB, former #1 overall pick Sam Bradford.

Make no mistake, though, if the Vikings aren’t buttoned up defensively on Sunday, it will be hard to not notice Jackson. He possesses a combination of power and speed that allows him to be a north-south runner, but that also allows him to hit another gear in the open field to break away.

Jackson has seen a lot in his 9 NFL seasons with the Rams, and Nick Wagoner of the team’s website details the story nicely in this piece. Perhaps most unusual is the fact that, as Wagoner notes, his current head coach – Jeff Fisher – is the 6th different head coach he’s had. That much turnover in a coaching staff is not good for a player or a franchise. But what is good is the fact that it appears Fisher is the coach that has best understood how to capitalize on Jackson’s ability. Fisher is a defensive-minded head coach, and as is often the case with that type of head coach, the power running game is en vogue on offense.

Right out of the gates, it looked like Fisher was going to lean heavily on Jackson and a power ground game. Jackson had 25 touches in the season opener, an illustration that the 6-2, 240-pound beast was the perfect runner for Fisher’s team. But a groin injury suffered in Week 2 slowed Jackson, and the team and player had to take a different approach going forward – incorporating youngster Daryl Richardson into the mix to ease the burden and Jackson and keep him fresh for later in the season.

Well, later in the season is here, and Jackson is in mid-season form. He averaged just 13.5 touches per game from Week 2 through the team’s Week 9 bye. Since the bye, though, Jackson has been the team’s workhorse. He carried the ball 29 times for 101 yards and 1 TD in the team’s Week 10 tie with San Francisco, and in the 3 games following the bye he ripped off 321 yards, a total just 82 yards less than what he posted in the first 8 games of the season combined. In the 6 games since the bye, Jackson is averaging 23.2 touches per game and he has a pair of 100-yard rushing games.

“We’ve done a pretty good job getting him the carries, that’s the important thing is getting him the opportunities,” Fisher said. “And plus, I think, he’s fresher than most backs at this time of the year, particularly because of the way we kind of managed the reps early in the season.”

The man responsible for divvying out the reps seems intent to continue feeding the beast.

“This time of year you kind of go and you go with the hot hand,” Rams Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. “He has that. We certainly have plays for the other guys, but when he’s running the way he’s running it’s hard to take him off the field. The guy’s just a workhorse. He’s playing at a really high level. He’s doing so much for us and we’re thrilled we have him.”

Jackson needs 164 yards to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the 8th consecutive season, a feat matched by only 6 players in NFL history. He also is within just 71 yards of becoming the 27th player in league history to rush for 10,000 yards. For the Vikings to win on Sunday, they’re likely going to have to prevent Jackson from reaching either milestone.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »


16 Responses to “The Rams Like To Feed Their Beast, Too”

  1. By robb on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Yeah I agree that Jackson looks to be the biggest threat Sunday and the Vikings must contain him.I think he will really test the Vikings D but they can rise to the occasion with Harrison Smith coming down to cover.Still AP should have the bigger rushing day despite the Ram’s top ranked defense because he is on a mission and will not be denied.If the Vikings come out strong early like last week and the defense can hold like they did then they may edge out a win in a close nail-biter.What worries me is their road record but I think the Vikings mindset will be different and they will surprise again.

  2. By vikingbob136 on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Our defense will keep Jackson in check. He is not 100% healthy and not the same player he was.
    If the secondary can shut down Amendola and company,we are going to win by
    14 points.

  3. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Surprise? robb? Only surprise I see is Ponder throwing 5 intercepts instead of only 2. Win by 14 points Vbob136? As long as you are dreaming make it 40.

  4. By Ponder AKA 3 and out on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    we will see how bad Ponder wants his job next year on Sunday

  5. By Ricky on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Dear Coach Frazier,
    Enough is enough! Beat them, beat the Rams! I’m so happy the Vikings beat the Bears! I’m really upset, the Vikings need to win, beat the Rams! Win again, twice! Ann owes me $20 because the Vikings won. My dad will be so happy if the Vikings win, all my folks will be happy along with me. I want the Vikings to win a big trophy. Good luck on Sunday!

    Ricky

  6. By Ponder AKA 3 and out on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    and the following 2 games. playoffs start on Sunday for Ponder, long road for him

  7. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    This is really a great opportunity for our team and it is exciting to be in this position even with all the things that need fixing we still have a chance of keeping our playoff hopes alive with a big win on the road against a team that has also turned around in just 1 season. These teams are really quite similar and find themselves in a similar situation. This is definetley a playoff game……win or lose I’m just thankful the game is on the back of Peterson because right now he gives us our best chance to win……….skol Vikes!!!!!!!!!

  8. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Wow…There are a lot of Packers fans that believe they have an EASY win coming to them in Soldier field this Sunday ???….hahaha…

    Packer fans will be crying like babies for a week !!!…If the Bears & Vikings both win !!

    Please let that happen !!!!….PLEASE !!!!…. ;-)

  9. By Matthias on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Do we want the bears to win? If they lose and we win, we will be ahead.

  10. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Everything thing for the Vikings rests a great deal…On the Bears beating the Packers…

    But the Vikings need to beat the Rams also…

    And things get easier for the Vikings…If the Texans beat the Colts this weekend also…

    Texans might rest some players when the Vikings play them ???…If the Texans win this Sunday…

    Bears win…Vikings win…EVERYTHING gets interesting within the black & blue division…

  11. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    OTKalil2012 The only ones that will be resting is the vikings after those texans put them asleep. sweet dreams next year.

  12. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    One minute you hate the bears, next minute you want the bears to win. Make up your mind. You want the bears to do the vikings dirty work as the vikings can’t do it for themselfs.

  13. By Troutdaddy on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Love the post by Ricky above. A great example of a young fan with a positive mindset and A LOT of hope. Taught me a lesson. We shuld all just shut up and cheer louder. Nothing is writtenin stone for any team and our Vikes have just as good of a chance than anyone else to pull this off. One other thing- People need to quit listing how many INT’s Ponder is going to throw each week. Do you want the Vikes to fail? Do you call out how many times your kids are going to fail each day or how many times your wife is going burn dinner? Shesh- why would you wish ill of someone in that way. Why Jinx him? Just a thought….

  14. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Toutdaddy Me thinks you better stick to trout fishing. You sure took the bait from Ricky…..He or it is a phoney, juat another person using another name

  15. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Trout. Why not say nice things about me, as I am a phoney, just like 95% of those on here.

  16. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Want me to list the 5% who aren’t phoney? Are you one?

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