Coming off a weekend where he and the Rams were shutout in Seattle, running back Steven Jackson would like nothing more than to breakout out this week for over 100 yards en route to a Rams win.
No. 39 knows that he'll be facing a formidable run defense in the Washington Redskins. It goes without saying that the Redskins will pack the box just as the Seahawks did last week.
Steven and the Rams are looking to improve up last weekend's trip to Seattle (courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
But Steven embraces that challenge, as quoted in the Belleville News-Democrat:
"That's going to be my mindset for all 16 games that we have," Jackson said. "I anticipate defenses going with eight men in the box for the rest of the year because we are just so young at the receiver position."
With that in mind, S-Jax realizes that he may once again have to play decoy for the passing game in some circumstances, as he told the Belleville News-Democrat:
"I'm just going to do my best to make sure they respect the running game and hopefully get some one-on-ones on the outside. Those guys are talented enough to take advantage of one-on-ones."
The linchpin to the Redskins run defense is former Ram London Fletcher, who accumulated a league-high 18 tackles against the Giants last Sunday. He's a player that Steven and the Rams have plenty of respect for.
"London Fletcher is still making plays," Jackson said. "He's a guy that rallies to the ball. From what I see on game film, he kind of mirrors the running back. It should be a good matchup with myself and him."
The Redskins also know what S-Jax brings to the table. No. 39 ran for 79 yards on 22 carries in St. Louis' victory over the Redskins last season. In 2006, the last time the Redskins came to St. Louis, S-Jax had one of the biggest games of his career, running for 150 yards on 33 carries. He also caught six passes for 102 yards. He scored twice: on a touchdown reception and a touchdown run.
In his career, Steven has rushed for over 250 yards and has over 150 receiving yards against the Redskins. Defensive coordinator Greg Blache knows that slowing the Beast won't be an easy task, as quoted in the News-Democrat:
"They have one of the best backs in the business," Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache said of Jackson. "The guy at Minnesota (Adrian Peterson) is off the chart. I put Jackson right underneath him. He is big, strong and fast and he can go the distance every time he touches the football.
"If the hole is not there inside, he will bounce it outside. He can catch passes out of the backfield. I think this guy is a home-run hitting type of back."
MISSION: GET THE BALL TO 39
After a preseason filled with the notion that the Rams offense would revolve around S-Jax, the aftermath of week one was one of shock that Steven only touched the football 16 times.
Those around the Rams, fans, coaches and writers alike, believe that can't be a recipe that the Rams expect to win with.
In the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Bernie Miklasz notes that the Rams can't worry about the down and the distance when it comes to the running game, because those situations are when No. 39 is at his best.
"Steven Jackson and the Rams did their best work in those situations Sunday. Jackson had 6 carries for 45 yards on second-down plays. When the Rams faced 2nd down and 8 yards or more, he rushed 4 times for 21 yards. On a 2nd down and 11+ yards to go, Jackson had a 22-yard run. When the Rams put three wideouts on the field — to suggest that a pass was coming — Jackson carried 7 times for 39 yards. The point? Jackson can do a lot of damage on so-called passing downs and formations."
At Turf Show Times, Van Ram advocates the use of the short screen pass in those situations.
"The only thing I would add to that is what a difference it might have made by putting the Rams in much better positions on third downs, which were consistently looooong last week. In the preseason, Pat Shurmur used short passes to convert more than one 3rd-and-short situation."
ESPN.com's Mike Sando takes it one step further, and analyzes the St. Louis run game based on the different personnel on the field:
"Seattle, the Rams ran the ball nine times from their base offense — two backs, two receivers, one tight end — and averaged 2.9 yards per attempt. They gained 9 yards on their only carry with one back (Jackson) and two tight ends (Randy McMichael and Fells). They gained 10 yards on their lone rushing attempt with two backs (Jackson, Karney) and two tight ends. They gained 2 yards and the first down on their lone rushing attempt with three tight ends."
Rams tight end Randy McMicahel summarized it best, as quoted by the Belleville News-Democrat.
"We have to find a way as receivers and tight ends to make plays, and if they do have an eight-man front, we have find a way to block seven guys and let Steven make one guy miss," Rams tight end Randy McMichael said. "It's all about staying on your man a little longer and helping Jack(son) find room to run."
IN THE LIFE ON FOX BIZ
Steven appeared on Fox Business Channel this past week to promote his online documentary series, "In the Life With Steven Jackson." In case you missed it, here's the clip from America's Daily Scoreboard:
You can watch "In the Life" at http://inthelife.sj39.com.
The Rams and Redskins kickoff from St. Louis at noon CST, all the action can be seen live on FOX. Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan have the call.
Rams hope to crank up ground game (Belleville New-Democrat, September 18, 2009)
Wanted: More Carries for Steven Jackson (Turf Show Times, September 17, 2009)
Personnel Report Rams running game (ESPN.com, September 17, 2009)
Bulger's 1st game + Notes on a Scorecard (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 16, 2009)
On the Air: Rams in Week 2 (ESPN.com, September 15, 2009)
Spagnuolo turns page, looks to next game (Belleville News-Democrat, September 15, 2009)