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RamView: Week 1 – RB

* RB: Steven Jackson (22-81) had a respectable game, but shockingly, was never the focus of the Ram offense today. He seemed more valuable to the coaching staff as a blitz protector for Bradford than the Pro Bowl running back he is. And I’ll say this – he was terrific on blitz pickup all game. Jackson didn’t find much running room up the middle. His best runs of the day were all outside by design or bounced outside. Jackson did have about 30 yards his first three carries, including an 18-yard outside run in the 2nd off a couple of great blocks, but as has happened recently in this series, Arizona’s advantage in the middle of the trenches and their run-blitzing began to win out, and Jackson spent too much of the day running smack into guys behind the line of scrimmage. This was especially painful right after halftime, when the Rams wanted to run Jackson down Arizona’s throats with the lead but got stuffed for a 3-and-out instead. Jackson ran with determination and power as he always does, and didn’t show any sign of lingering problems from offseason back surgery. There was about a 10-yard run in the 2nd half where he ran through three different Arizona defensive backs. The run/pass balance today was Mike Martz-wacky, yet Jackson still had around 25 touches. The problem for the Rams is they don’t have the 2nd RB with outside speed to take the load off him and Bradford. And though little Ken Darby was about the only guy to successfully block Darnell Dockett, on the long 3rd-and-16 completion to Clayton near the end of the game, the Rams are going to get either Jackson or Bradford chewed up this season when the backup RBs are only good enough to spell Jackson for two carries for 4 yards. The Rams are going to pay for not shoring up this situation better.

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