You'll be hard pressed to find a fan, expert, media member, etc. who won't tell you that the St. Louis Rams need to find a backup or even a player to split carries with superstar RB Steven Jackson. Look at any number of 2011 NFL mock drafts; they all have the Rams taking a running back. At one point, there was a pretty serious discussion among fans about the possibility to picking Alabama RB Mark Ingram in the first round. However, there's one voice that feels a little differently about matter: Steven Jackson.
A classy player and team leader to the end, Jackson has never taken to the airwaves to denounce the talk or even the need. The heart and soul of the Rams, Jackson wants to continue to carry the load, just as he did during the Rams' winning drought, on his way to setting the franchise record for rushing. Jackson really hasn't said too much throughout the process, but he took to his Twitter tonight to share some thoughts on the matter.
Franchise RB's are needed. Personally I take pride in being a RB that never comes off the field. That pride needs to be reinstated.
And the young backs who see their role as a committee member:
Young back don't understand that. The value of RB is being watered because of this. Throw back runners still have a place in the NFL!
I'll have to say, I talked to plenty of running backs at the Combine this year, and few relished the idea of being a part-timer themselves, even when it was obvious that they would be just that. Naturally, all expressed a willingness to do so, accepting whatever role a team gives them for a shot at the NFL. Shane Vereen expressed his openness to whatever role, but also said that it's much easier for a back to get in his natural flow with 20 carries in a game.
Still, the NFL's changing with more and more emphasis on the pass and running backs being fit into that system rather than the system fitting around them. Jackson offered his take on the rise of the multiple running back approach:
Let's be honest multiple back system came about because a (certain) team didn't have a franchise back. So they had to find a solution.
Is he referring to New England? I can't say with confidence what team he is referring to. If it is the Patriots that could get a little awkward considering the Rams' new offensive coordinator.
Here's my take as a fan - and I'll be interested to hear yours - you won't find anyone greater for Jackson's contribution to the team than Rams fans, who suffered through those dark years. Personally, I'd like to see Jackson remain a part of this team, seeing them through to greener pastures. If that means he's not carrying the ball 20 times a game so be it.