Jackson's absence irritates Martz

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Jackson's absence irritates Martz
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Rams coach Mike Martz says No. 1 draft pick Steven Jackson (above) is "so far behind."
    (Chris Lee/P-D)

    For those who think that first-round draft pick Steven Jackson is going to waltz into a position as the Rams' No. 1A running back, nipping at Marshall Faulk's heels, coach Mike Martz has a message for you:

    Think again.

    "To think that any back is going to come in and alternate with a guy who's been an MVP and is headed for the Hall of Fame, . . . without ever doing anything, is just insane," Martz said Wednesday, six days before players report to Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., for training camp. "He missed all of spring, and then he was supposed to be here this (past) weekend and didn't show up. So, we're just going to move on."

    Jackson, a 6-foot-3, 233-pound Oregon State product, is unsigned and clearly not on Martz's good side at the moment. Jackson attended the team's rookie camp, but under NFL rules had to skip the three-day full-squad session in May because Oregon State's senior class had yet to graduate. Martz didn't elaborate on why Jackson was expected at Rams Park last weekend. Attempts on Wednesday to reach Jackson's agent, St. Louis-based Rocky Arceneaux, were unsuccessful.

    Jackson's status is significant because Faulk, 31, has endured a succession of knee problems. Faulk, the league's MVP and offensive player of the year in 2000, hasn't made it through a full season unscathed since 1999, the year the Rams won the Super Bowl. During that span, he has been sidelined for 11 regular-season contests, although a broken hand, not a knee problem, cost him five games last season. In 2003, Faulk appeared in 11 games and rushed for 818 yards, the second-lowest total of his 10-year career.

    There even has been speculation that if his knee doesn't respond fully after another offseason operation, a frustrated Faulk might consider retirement. While Martz acknowledged that he was "a little bit" concerned about Faulk's health, he was quick to put his apprehension in perspective.

    "I'm less concerned probably this year than I was the last two years," said Martz, who will be entering his fifth season as head coach. "I know that he's come in the last two years probably about 70 percent. Last year, his knee was awful, and we tried to kind of get by. ...

    "He's much further along physically than he has been the last few seasons, and yet he's not 100 percent by any stretch. He's probably 85 to 90 percent. Over the next month or so, we're going to try to get him as close to (100 percent) as possible."

    Asked whether Faulk might never again be at full capacity, Martz said: "I suppose that's possible. But Marshall at 95 percent is probably better than anybody else in the league."

    Jackson, who turns 21 today, was widely deemed better than anybody else among the running backs available in the draft. He led the Pacific 10 Conference in rushing yards (1,545), all-purpose yards (2,015) and points (132) last year as a junior. In three seasons, he piled up 3,625 rushing yards and 680 receiving yards on 66 catches.

    On draft day, Jackson described his game as "gumbo."

    "It means that I can catch, block and run, the three things you need to be able to do in the National Football League," he said. "I bring a lot of stuff to the table."

    The Rams traded up two spots to snatch him with the 24th overall selection. "We all have goose bumps, to add this type of talent to our offense," Martz said then.

    How long it takes Jackson to absorb the Rams' multifaceted offense is the question now, and Martz isn't optimistic that it will be any time soon.

    Jackson is listed behind Faulk, Lamar Gordon and even Arlen Harris, who is being moved to fullback, on the depth chart. "He's going to come in as the fourth back," Martz said. "And if he's better than our third back, then he'll move up. If he's better than No. 2, he'll move up there. ...

    "He's so far behind right now, whatever he can do is a bonus," Martz said. "If he can catch up, God bless him. ... All that glitz and glamour of being the No. 1 guy, he's going to have to shake that off and go to work. Whatever he does on this football team, he's doing to earn every inch of it. Nothing's going to be given to him."
  2. SoTex

    SoTex Giddy Up

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    Interesting read. Thanks for the post. JJ is looking better every day. :D
  3. Charles

    Charles Benched

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    True, but then potentially great players and great players usually have that prima dona attitude. I remember Terell Suggs showed out shape to training camp. After the 1st practice everyone knew he was the 2nd best player on defense behind Ray Lewis. Sometimes these potential studs are so confident in their abilities..

    I hope Julius Jones becomes the best Rb in the draft, bercause Bill and jerry will get roasted in the media if they passed on a better player and personally I will be pissed.
  4. maloy

    maloy Drama King

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    martz is an idiot, i can't stand looking at the guy.
  5. SoTex

    SoTex Giddy Up

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    I agree. I think Jackson will be ok. He will get into camp and contribute. I just really like the unassuming attitude that JJ has displayed to this point. I hope he pans out. I really think he will. If not, I will not be too mad. I aprreciate owners and coaches that are not afraid to follow their instinct rather than listen to all the so called "experts". BP has history on his side, so I have no reason not to trust him at this point. Time will tell. :D
  6. jackyl

    jackyl New Member

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    Jackson was ridiculous to watch at Oregon State. I was really disappointed that the 'boys passed on him. Hopefully JJ works out here.
  7. Sarge

    Sarge Red, White and brew... Staff Member

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    Couldn't agree more. He's a pi$$poor coach as well.

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