St. Louis Rams: Why Steven Jackson Shouldn't Worry About His Legacy

Dan KuklaCorrespondent IIIJuly 16, 2012

Don't worry Steven Jackson, you'll be acknowledged as a throwback to the old-time greats. For now, worry about your team and not your personal legacy.
Don't worry Steven Jackson, you'll be acknowledged as a throwback to the old-time greats. For now, worry about your team and not your personal legacy.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson spent this offseason vocally assessing how new imports can help the team quickly turn from worst to first. Now it's time to return the favor.

Jackson challenged rookie receiver Brian Quick to make an immediate impact. He endorsed new head coach Jeff Fisher for his experience while trying to not throw the former coaching staff completely under the bus.

Here are a few ways Jackson can pitch in and contribute to the turnaround himself.

The veteran workhorse has more than earned the right to be a vocal leader for the Rams. He has also earned the right to be impatient while posting the lowest career (weighted) winning percentage among running backs with at least 5,000 rushing yards and 7,500 yards from scrimmage in their careers.

But what is his motivation for all of the summer chatter? He better be focused on his team and not himself.

"Ive achieved a lot individually," Jackson said, according to the Daily Mail's Simon Milham.

"At this point I'm thinking about what my legacy will really be. How will it read out? No-one really remembers a loser. It's hard. You see some players who don't have such individual talent, but they are on good teams. They get noticed and you get overlooked, so you have to deal with that."

As Jackson ages, his own individual talent will decline. It's just a fact of life for running backs approaching age 30. If he really wants to win, that will require taking a more team-friendly role.

The presence of rookie Isaiah Pead means the Rams backfield is quickly running out of room for egos. Jackson is still the clear lead rusher, but he needs to share without worrying about how that affects his individual stats and legacy.

Splitting carries should actually help Jackson from an individual standpoint. He touched the ball at least 275 times in each of the last seven seasons while averaging more than 23 touches per game during that span. He is the only active running back with more than 2,000 career carries.

The heavy workload combined with his physical running style produced a checkered injury history. His rising age certainly won't make all the wear and tear any easier to sustain.

Giving up a few extra carries to Pead may limit Jackson's totals, but it will also keep him fresh. This will allow him to be more effective with the carries he does keep, which will still be a lion's share of the workload. Avoiding some extra dings along the way may actually boost his totals if it keeps him healthy longer or allows him to do more with less.

More importantly, splitting carries will help the Rams. A healthier, fresher, more effective Jackson comes with its obvious benefits. Working in Pead could bring even more.

Don't mistake the former Bearcat as a scat back. St. Louis didn't spend the No. 50 overall pick on a player it plans to limit exclusively to third down work.

According to NBC, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on SportsCenter that Pead is viewed as the “successor” to the aging Rams starter.

Opposing defenses now need to account for more than one threat out of the backfield. Jackson is no slouch in the passing game, but that is where Pead is at his best. The open field is where Pead thrives. He isn't limited to screen plays, but can run downfield routes as well.

Pead is a weapon that can strengthen the Rams running game and expand how Ram running backs are used out of the backfield. Jackson will serve his own personal ambitions well if he checks his ego, drops the legacy talk and shares the rock.