Here's some good news for Rams fans. RB Steven Jackson practiced with the Rams first team offense today, sharing reps with Antonio Pittman.
This being Tuesday (Wednesday, really) and Haslett stipulating that Jackson must practice at least once at full speed before he's allowed to play, Jackson's participation today can be seen as a positive sign for his status on Sunday.
In the midst of the Rams recent meltdown(s), Jackson's taken some flak, with segments of the fan population both frustrated with his injuries and some feeling he's overrated. His summer hold out didn't help some fans' impressions of him either. Let me throw in my two cents on both counts.
There's no doubt watching Jackson deal with injuries the last two seasons has been frustrating, but it's hard to pin that on Jackson entirely. Like Bulger, Jackson suffers the consequences of playing behind a crummy offensive line. I believe that Jackson's abilities have even compensated for a poor o-line. He did top 1000 yards last season as lineman after lineman succumbed to injury...in just 12 games played too. The numbers at Football Outsiders confirm this point, with the Rams ranking in the bottom five in Adjsuted Line Yards but among the better half of the league in runs of 10+ yards both this season and last. With seven more games left, he's on pace to top that number again as well as better his receptions total from last season. Let's also not forget that he tried to play through an injury against the Cardinals, before he was ready, which likely contributed to him sitting out against the Jets.
As for geting rid of Jackson, I kind of feel like this shouldn't even be up for discussion, but the boards are buzzing with a few disgruntled fans so let's take it up anyway. Jackson is the Rams top offensive player, but the poor play of the offense around him makes that tough to see. This is, after all, a team game, and the offense as a unit is dependent upon lots of moving parts that make the machine go, e.g the offensive line. Bulger's been terrible with the screen passes this season...and last in my opinion. That takes away from what Jackson has to offer. Now, from a roster standpoint, given the vast array of needs this teams has, trading or otherwise dumping their best player would just add one more need to fill.
The bottom line on Jackson is that he's the foundation, and a good one, of the Rams offense and will be for some years to come.