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Jackson wants record

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Jackson wants record

Postby stomperrob » Fri Jun 08, 2007 12:30 pm

Steven Jackson sets sights on 2,500 total yards

By Bill Coats

First, he took Marshall Faulk's job. Now, Rams running back Steven Jackson is going after Faulk's records.

"My goal is 2,500 total yards from scrimmage," Jackson said Thursday. "And how I get it doesn't matter. But I want to get to that number."

If he does, Jackson would replace Faulk as the NFL's single-season record-holder. Faulk piled up 2,429 yards in 1999 — 1,381 rushing, 1,048 receiving — a season that culminated with a Rams Super Bowl championship.

Only Faulk, Tiki Barber (2,390 in 2005), LaDainian Tomlinson (2,370 in 2003), and Barry Sanders (2,358 in 1997) have topped the 2,334 yards that Jackson amassed last year.

"Some people may feel that I'm reaching," Jackson said of shooting for 2,500. "But I believe goals are to be set, and then you just go after them."

Jackson fell slightly short of his goal of 1,600 rushing yards in 2006, but he supplemented his 1,528 yards by catching 90 passes for 806 yards. The breakout season earned Jackson a Pro Bowl selection in just his third year after the Rams drafted him in the first round

(No. 24 overall) out of Oregon State.

"Once Marshall was unable to play last year, I thought Steven took full advantage of the added opportunity and showed everybody why he was a No. 1 draft pick," coach Scott Linehan said. "He proved a lot to a lot more people than just his coaches and teammates. He's one of those guys that teams have to try to find a way to stop."

Although his numbers had been declining, Faulk remained the Rams' primary back when Jackson arrived. Their relationship was cordial, if not overly friendly. Jackson bided his time edgily.

"For quite a long time, I kept pleading my case, saying that I believe in my own capabilities," he said. "I thought since Day 1 I could be a top back in this league. I felt last year was the first time I had that chance to ... state my case." ST. LOUIS RAMS

Jackson, who will turn 24 next month, rushed for 673 yards and had 19 receptions for 189 yards as a rookie. Faulk, who had cemented his Hall of Fame credentials, ran for 774 yards and added 30 catches for 310 yards. But signs of wear were obvious as his 12th NFL season wound down.

In February 2005, coach Mike Martz announced that Jackson and Faulk would swap assignments. That season, Jackson gained 1,046 yards on the ground and 320 through the air, but the Rams slumped to 5-11. Martz was fired after the season and Linehan brought an offensive system that stressed more balance between the run and the pass.

With Faulk sidelined all year with a knee injury, Jackson flourished, firmly establishing himself as one of the NFL's elite backs. He led the league in total offense and catches by a running back; he finished fifth in rushing.

The 6-foot-2, 231-pound Jackson was particularly proud of his 436 carries and catches combined. Only Kansas City's Larry Johnson had more, with 457. The Rams, however, would like to lessen Jackson's workload a bit, which is partly why they drafted Rutgers running back Brian Leonard in the second round this year.

"We've just got to be able to manage how much (Jackson) plays," Linehan said. "I don't know if it's exactly like a pitch count in baseball, but there's got to be times when we give him a break. ... It's hard to take one of your best players out of a game ever. But you have to in football."

Jackson understands, to a degree.

"My philosophy is, to be considered great in the National Football League you have to be the marquee guy, you have to shoulder the burden of the running game," he said. "This is a business, and as an organization, we do have to have guys to be ready to come in and play and protect ourselves as an offensive unit and as a team. ...

"But me, I cherish the moments when I can put myself in tough situations and come out on top."

Those opportunities figure to continue for Jackson, especially with Faulk out of the picture for good after announcing his retirement earlier this year.

"It definitely makes life easier," Jackson said. "You can never downplay what he accomplished with this franchise. But now, the question of, 'Are you good enough?' ... I think I've answered that."

mailto:bcoats@post-dispatch.com | 314-340-8189

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Re: Jackson wants record

Postby PapaPark » Fri Jun 08, 2007 12:47 pm

I'm a HUGE SJax fan but I don't think he'll get 2500 total yards.
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Re: Jackson wants record

Postby smackthefirst » Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:07 pm

If he gets to 2500 yards this year, I would be amazed. I am a huge fan of SJax as well, but 2500 yards is a feat that very few will ever accomplish.
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Re: Jackson wants record

Postby Free Bagel » Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:15 pm

He almost did it last year (164 yards short), so it certainly isn't out of reach especially given how much more of a focal point he became down the stretch last year.
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Re: Jackson wants record

Postby mrblitz » Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:57 pm

I for one believe it is possible. SJax finally showed what he is really capable of last year.
And with a healthy Bulger, he could certainly assertain that goal.

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