Wednesday, July 25, 2012
How many touches for Steven Jackson?
By Mike Sando
Steven Jackson has reason to expect a full workload in 2012 even though his St. Louis Rams used a second-round draft choice for running back Isaiah Pead.
Jackson, speaking on PFT Live (via Turf Show Times), indicated he expects to get "25-30 touches" per game while Pead provides an occasional breather or change of pace.
The figure Jackson cited sounded a little high, and it was, but Jackson already has 47 career games with at least 25 touches. He's had 20-plus touches in 80 of his 116 career games. Set aside Jackson's rookie season, when he was sharing time with Marshall Faulk, and the percentages climb higher: 25-plus touches in 46 of 101 games, with at least 20 in 32 of the 55 remaining games.
The chart compares Jackson's career touches against those for former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George. The comparison seems relevant as George's former coach, Jeff Fisher, takes over the Rams. We should expect the Rams to continue feeding Jackson at a high rate. There should be more carries to go around if the Rams' offense improves.
Jackson is coming off seven consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards. He turned 29 this week, sounding the usual alarm bells warning against imminent decline for an NFL running back. He had 260 carries last season, down from 330 in 2010 and 324 the previous year.
History suggests a runner will break down if he carries 370-plus times in a season. Jackson has never come close to that number.
I would think Jackson, with two seasons remaining on his contract, should be able to carry a heavy load in 2012. His new offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, will obviously have a say in the distribution. I'll be interested in getting a better feel for his plans upon visiting Rams camp beginning this weekend.