The St. Louis Rams might have three wins if Steven Jackson were his old self. That could be an exaggeration, but I don't think it's a big one; in the two games they've lost in 2012 he's sucked up 32 carries for a total of just 82 yards, making ball movement almost impossible. Now, with a latent groin injury leaving him questionable ahead of Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks, observers around the NFC West have begun to temper expectations for the Rams and their star running back in this division opener.
Mike Sando finds a striking historical parallel that offers some mixed evidence, but the last three games have shown more generally how little this Rams team can afford to give up on offense. Their effective Week 2 running game—a mix of Jackson and seventh-round rookie Daryl Richardson, who should see a lot of time in Week 4—coincided with their best passing attack and made them look downright competent, while all the failed plays in Weeks 1 and 3 left an improving-but-not-proven Sam Bradford gasping for air.
The Rams might find that running success against the Seahawks yet, but if the muted tone out of their clubhouse and from the kremlinologists is any indication, the lion's share won't be coming from Steven Jackson.