The Post-Dispatch picked up on a rare return of the “old”, brash Steven Jackson this weekend, with Bill Coats writing about a running back who “thinks the best player should have the ball.” That running back is—it’s not Kenneth Darby, and if the St. Louis Rams are going to beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday they should consider listening to him about himself.
With Sam Bradford boxed in by defenses who seem to have realized all at once how dangerous he is, and with little help coming from his wide receivers, it’s up to Steven Jackson to open things up to the passing that was so deadly in the Rams’ brief midseason offensive renaissance.
Of course, it’s not just about giving him the ball. Jackson’s gotten the ball 21 times a game for four years out of the last five, like clockwork, and this one’s no different—the problem is he’s allowing a career low 3.9 yards per carry. The Rams’ offense just isn’t stretched as vertically as it needs to be—Jackson will need to run effectively to open up Sam Bradford, and Bradford will need to get the ball deep to Danario Alexander to give Jackson room to run. It’s a tough fix, but the old Steven Jackson seems confident he can figure it out.