Fresh off their first win of the season last Sunday, Steven Jackson and the Rams enter their game this weekend against the Seattle Seahawks with their spirits high and their sights set even higher.
"This is a huge game for us," Steven told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "This is Seattle at home, we're only one game back in our division. Although it's early in the season, (to) come out victorious, that does a lot for us in the season."
St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo said this week that Steven is a game-time decision for the home game against Seattle after an MRI on Monday revealed just a groin strain from his injury in last Sunday’s win over the Redskins. Steven is hopeful he can play, yet realistic about his progress.
"The leg's still tight; the groin's still tight. So it's just one of those injuries where just time is what is going to heal the injury. The most I can do now is still mentally prepare myself as if I'm going to go Sunday," S-Jax told the Associated Press. “I'm just going to continue to rehab and continue to be smart with it. I think that's the biggest thing is that we're smart with the injury."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Friday afternoon that Steven was a limited participant in Friday’s practice.
He took some handoffs on the side but was not close to going full speed.
But Steven told reporters on Thursday that speed and running weren’t the issue.
"We have done all pool exercises and rehabbing and non-weight bearing," Jackson said. "Really it’s not running. It’s the range of motion. That’s where my hiccup is and that’s where cutting and doing the things that you have to do on the football field is kind of scary,” No. 39 told ESPN. "A groin injury is somewhat like a hamstring — soft tissue. It's really hard to deal with because certain things are just so limited because of the injury."
S-Jax said he will do all he can to be on the field on Sunday to help the Rams try and end a 10-game losing streak against the Seahawks that dates back to his second year in the league. But he also knows that one game is not worth risking his season and plans to approach Sunday that way. Either way he’ll have a role when the Rams take the field.
"I will be there early Sunday seeing if I can run and cut, and seeing if I can go out there and give my team a lift," he said. "If I so happen to sit out Sunday, I've just got to make sure that I'm helping the young guys, make sure they know what they're doing, and be an extra set of eyes for them."
The Rams defense will be dealing with a three-running back combination for the Seahawks this week, an idea that’s becoming more popular by the season in the NFL.
But in St. Louis, when SJ39 is healthy, there’s no doubting who is carrying the load.
"We've got one of the best backs, if not the best back, in the NFL … that loves staying on the field," general manager Billy Devaney told the Post-Dispatch. "It's hard to get the guy off the field. When he's playing, he wants the ball.
"That's not a knock on (backups Kenneth) Darby or (Keith) Toston, either. We don't view it as that, that we have one back and we don't have any other back on the roster."
The Rams don’t plan on changing their style any time soon either, as the Post-Dispatch reports:
"I just think it depends on the personnel you have," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "We're pretty comfortable with the way we do it."
Added Devaney: "It's a long season, and if you have two guys, those stud kind of guys, sure, there's advantages to that. But if you have a guy of Jackson's caliber, there's an advantage to that also, having him on the field all the time."
Steven and the Rams play host to the division-leading Seattle Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. CST and the game can be seen regionally on FOX.
Rams buck trend of multiple running back combos (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1, 2010)
Jackson, Atogwe Questionable for Sunday (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1, 2010)
Jackson misses another practice (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1, 2010)
Updating Steven Jackson’s status (ESPN.com, October 1, 2010)
Rams RB Jackson unsure if he will play against Seattle (Associated Press, October 1, 2010)