Steven Jackson and his St. Louis Rams teammates head south this weekend for an intra-conference showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars, hungry for a much-wanted win.
Jacksonville is coming off a 41-0 blowout defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, so their defense is sure to be motivated to stop the Rams.
No. 39 is ranked fourth in the NFL in total rushing yards (AP).
Steven is ready for a battle, as quoted in the Florida Times-Union:
"Each and every week, I have to prepare for my next battle with a tough defense. I respect the Jaguars' defense. I respect the mind-set and the physicality the team plays with. I'm in store for a hard-hitting game, and I have to run behind my pads."
S-Jax is no stranger to success against the Jaguars. No. 39 ran for a career-high 179 yards and added two catches for 21 yards and the game-winning touchdown in St. Louis' 24-21 defeat of Jacksonville on October 30, 2006 in St. Louis.
If the Rams can come out with a similar result this Sunday, it would be a worthwhile payoff for all of Steven's hard work, as quoted in the Times-Union:
"I've had to persevere through some things, but I also know good days are here to come because of all the work that we've put in. I know we will reap those benefits sometime soon."
"We go out there every year thinking we can win every game," Jackson said. "My thinking and my mind-set is that I have to be consistent week in and week out. I am not preparing for this game any different than I would if we were 5-0 right now. I understand that it's a tough defense. You guys have changed to a 3-4 personnel, and you guys are intent on stopping the run. My challenge doesn't change week in and week out."
NO TRADE CAUSE
As the NFL's trade deadline looms this Tuesday, rumors have swirled about No. 39 possibly making his home elsewhere for the rest of this season if the Rams decide to trade him.
In an article for his Gameface column on Yahoo Sports, Michael Silver talked to Steven about the direction of the Rams and whether he would be receptive to a trade:
"I've really bought into the direction of this team," Jackson said. "For guys to want to follow a leader, you have to give them a vision – you have to show them the way. I believe Coach Spags has that GPS for a winning franchise."
"It's kind of like when you clean your closet out. You've got to make a bigger mess before you get organized. That's what we're going through right now."
To read Silver's entire article on Steven, visit Yahoo! Sports.
LOOKING FOR PAYDIRT
Through the Rams' first five games, Steven ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing, but he still hasn't rumbled into the end zone for a score yet this season. He's hoping to change that this week, as quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"I'm going to go back to my regular routine of just playing loose, just being myself, and being a playmaker. I have never had a fumbling problem, knock on wood. And I don't think it will be a problem."
Steven has never gone six games into the season without scoring. In 2007, Steven didn't score until the Rams' eighth game of the season, but due to injury it was only Steven's fourth game. Steven has waited until his fourth game to score in four of his five full seasons.
"It's been a rough one in my opinion," Jackson said. "I've yet to reach the end zone. I have two fumbles on the year. … So although I've been racking up yards, I've yet to lead this team to victory. And those kinds of mistakes that I've had in the last five games won't help."
Coach Steve Spagnuolo and the Rams will rely on No. 39 to carry them again on Sunday and hope to return to St, Louis this week with a win to build on, as quoted in the Times-Union:
"He's playing great. He's in great shape, and he's a guy we try to get the ball to," Spagnuolo said.
The Rams and Jaguars kickoff from Jacksonville Municipal Stadium at Noon CST on Sunday. All the action can be seen live on FOX. Ron Pitts and John Lynch will have the call.
Jaguars focus on Rams running back Steven Jackson (The Florida Times-Union, October 16, 2009)
St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson is frustrated (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 16, 2009)
Jackson thinks turnover talk is backfiring on Rams (The Associated Press, October 16, 2009)
Jackson not clamoring to escape losing Rams (Yahoo! Sports, October 16, 2009)