Diamond in the Rough
The NFL is a league were those who produce win. When players consistently have great statistical season, their teams often win. Steven Jackson however is the exception to the rule. The St. Louis Rams running back has been one of the most consistent players at his position in the last 5 years. After an average rookie season, Jackson has posted 5 consecutive 1,000 yard rushing season and is on pace to do so again this year. Since his breakout year in 2006 where he rushed for 1,528 yards 13 touchdowns and added 806 receiving yards with 3 touchdowns, he has been an NFL superstar.
Despite Jackson’s success, the Rams have not produced, failing to achieve a winning record since Jackson joined the team in 2004. The 6’2″ 236 pound running back has outperformed nearly every other player on his team on his way to 2 pro bowl selections.
When one stops to consider Jackson’s abysmal team, his record of 5 consecutive 1,000+ yards rushing yard seasons is even more impressive. The Rams have had anything but consistent play at the Quarterback position during Jackson’s tenure. Mark Bulger, Jackson’s quarterback up until this year has been below average since 2004. Since then Bulger has only passed for over 3,000 yards and more than 20 touchdowns twice. Bulger’s lack of consistency coupled with the fact that St. Louis has not had a star receiver in some time, made the Rams very one-dimensional.
Steven Jackson more often than not the teams entire offense. Every defensive coordinator who faced the Rams knew that Jackson was the offenses main threat and threw 8 and 9 men in the box to try and stop him. And what happened? Jackson produced anyway. Oftentimes stats can be deceiving as elite running backs often face stout defensive fronts intent on stopping the run. This fact makes Jackson’s stats all the more impressive. In his 7th year in the league, Jackson has averages over 80 yards per game and amassed 7,518 yards on the ground and another 2,530 yards in the air. He is also well-known for his ball security as he has only 16 fumbles since his career, that to go along with the 51 touchdowns he has scored and it is clear that Jackson is an elite player on a struggling team.
The addition of rookie quarterback Sam Bradford has finally given the Rams a legitimate passing threat. With the attention drawn away from Jackson, his is on pace to rush for over 1,200 yards for the 3rd time in his career. Despite numerous injuries including a notorious back surgery, Jackson has produced and produced and produced showing no signs of slowing down.