While much of the NFL has transitioned to a pass-first mentality, most believed coming into the season that the St. Louis Rams would try to focus on the running game as much as possible. It isn’t like they have completely abandoned the ground attack very often this year, but workhorse Steven Jackson certainly hasn’t seen the amount of carries that many expected coming into the season.
Even though the Rams were trailing early this past Sunday against the New York Jets, they need to stick with what works on offense if they want to effectively move the ball. Head Coach Jeff Fisher addressed that by saying: “I think in retrospect, we probably got away – probably should’ve fed ‘Jack’ a little more. I talked to him today about it. But we got behind. When you get behind like we did, you want to close the gap and catch up. But he was running really well. You know, he looks young. A lot of that has to do with what we did earlier in the year – him coming off that groin.”
Jackson should look fresh given the fact that he is on pace for a career-low in number of carries this season. In the team’s tie with the San Francisco 49ers, the Rams finally got Jackson over the 100 yard barrier for a game. That was the first time of the year as he also had a season-high 29 carries in that contest. Against the Jets, the story changed dramatically as although he made the most of his opportunities, Jackson was limited to just 13 totes for 81 yards.
Fisher acknowledged the disparity in passes to runs and commended Jackson for his style of running. He said: “He was making some plays. He ran over some people in this ballgame – some good players. And so we’re gonna have to commit to that. And as I said, our formula should’ve been their formula where they ran it 40 times and threw it 20 times. Instead we only had 20 carries.”
The Rams may have been trailing on Sunday, but sticking with Jackson will be vitally important if they want to build on their recent rushing success. Despite the Rams struggles in the passing game with quarterback Sam Bradford still under 100 yards on the game midway through the fourth quarter, the team was forced to put the ball in the air when playing from behind. If the squad can rekindle the attitude that was present coming into the season however, maybe playing from behind will no longer be a problem.
Follow Anthony Blake on Twitter @AnthonyMBlake or on Facebook at Anthony Mizarkus Blake