Rams Running Back Steven Jackson: “I’m reading that I’m getting long in the tooth, I’m getting old… It’s actually been encouraging.”September 9, 2011 – 8:30 am by Eric Schmoldt
Of the 32 NFL teams, the most intriguing one in my mind heading into the season might be the St. Louis Rams. After a 1-15 season in 2009, they drafted Sam Bradford with the No. 1 pick and he helped lead them to a 7-9 finish last year. Say what you want about the NFC West, but St. Louis nearly made the playoffs.
This offseason, they added what could be another key piece. Head coaching in Denver may not have worked out for Josh McDaniels, but by most accounts, his transition back to being an offensive coordinator has been rather seamless in St. Louis. Can the Rams build off their 2010 campaign and surprise the nation a bit more? Running back Steven Jackson seems to think so.
Steven Jackson joined ESPN 101 in St. Louis with The Fast Lane to discuss being raring to go for the season, what kind of shape he’s in, why he thinks the Rams are capable of great things this season, how the addition of Josh McDaniels changes his role, what it’s been liking making the transition to yet another new coordinator, and his exotic and inspiring travels this summer.
It sounds like you’re ready to go:
“I’m raring. Not only because of the lockout, and I’m happy to have football back, but I think what we had a chance to build off on last year. Coming from 1-15, going 7-9, seeing where this team is primed to end up.”
How in shape are you after the offseason?:
“It’s funny because I was doing an interview earlier and we were talking about that. I’m reading that I’m getting long in the tooth, I’m getting old… It’s actually been encouraging. It’s working in reverse. If we all read about running backs at 30, they tend to fall off and they only have so many number hits in their body. That’s all well and true, but I think that goes from an average of players. You have guys like Marcus Allen and Emmitt Smith that played well into their 30s. I don’t want to do that, but at the age of 30, I don’t see me hitting a cliff.”
On the nation’s perception of the Rams:
“It’ll be interesting to see what the nation thinks of us, what we’ve been building here. They all know exactly what we bring on the table from Sam’s point of view. But I think people are unaware of our defense, how tenacious and ball-hawking they are. For them to be in their third year in this scheme … it’s going to be amazing. I think we’re going to impress and open some eyes.”
Does the addition of Josh McDaniels to the offensive coaching staff change your role in this offense?:
“Not different, I think it just brings back memories from when I first hit the scene. I think a lot of questions or doubt of what can a big running back do? … I think a lot of that’s been lost the last few years and he’s going to help bring that back. … It’s going to allow me to display my capabilities as a complete runner.”
What’s the transition of coordinators been like?:
“Quite easy. That’s probably a bad thing, but it’s been quite easy. I’ve been used to learning new offenses, getting used to opening myself to individuals that are strangers. … When you sit in on meetings and you listen to him and his knowledge of the game and how he plans on calling a football game, my trust in him and his ability to make sure that we’re going to be explosive, it allowed for that to happen very easy.”
You went on a safari and some travels this summer. I think in a fight between you and a Tiger, I’d bet on you. What do you think?:
“If it’s me and a tiger, I definitely want to live to see another day, so I think you have the right bet. To be able to walk into the Coliseum in Rome was just amazing. The architecture, the sophistication that they had 2,000-plus years ago, for their water system to still work off the original settings of it is just amazing. … For me to be a modern-day gladiator in our sport … it just gives you goosebumps.”