St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and the team may be eyeballing Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the sixth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but the head coach did not sound like he was ready to give up on Steven Jackson. Speaking to reporters after the final session of this week's veteran mini-camp on Wednesday, Fisher said that Jackson "has a lot left."
"I love seeing that big back in the huddle," Fisher said. It's nice to have ... When a big back gets older, you look for one thing - is he getting hit or is he getting tackled. Steven's still getting tackled, so he's got a lot left."
Jackson told the media that he felt like he was in his prime, possessing a well honed combination of veteran smarts and physical talent.
None of this should be taken as a sign that the Rams would avoid Richardson if given a choice in the draft. Fisher and his staff have made it perfectly clear that the team needs a running back to pair with Jackson. Nobody would argue that.
Maybe it was the early season thigh injury, but it was clear watching Jackson that he lacks the same second gear he used to have, common for running backs at his age and with that heavy of a workload in their past. He can still be a key contributor, using that combo of smarts of raw power to run between the tackles. Hopefully, this coaching staff has more sense to use him at the goal line, something the last two offensive coordinators never realized.
The trick now is to add a back with the speed and gamebreaking threat to go with Jackson, especially if they intend to lean heavy on the running game this season, which it sounds like they do.