The St. Louis Rams are keeping the door open in trading away veteran running back Steven Jackson.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN:
As tough as this may be for Rams fans to see, Jackson is 29 years old. In addition, St. Louis has two young backs, in Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead, who possess great potential.
Therefore, with Jackson on the trade block, let's check out the best teams on which he could have the strongest impact—provided that Jackson does end up in a new NFL uniform.
Regardless of how banged up the Arizona Cardinals are offensively, and more specifically in the backfield, this running game was not going to be dominant in 2012.
Sure, Beanie Wells did compile 1,047 rushing yards in 2011. But 366 of those yards—which equates to 35 percent of his rushing total—came in two games, which gave the Cards had concerns entering this fall.
No matter who has been in Arizona's backfield through October, the Cardinals have not been able to slam between the tackles. An inter-divisional trade would most definitely be much more difficult to pull off, although a short-term investment in Steven Jackson would pay dividends.
For one, the NFC West is loaded with tough front-sevens, so controlling the line of scrimmage is quite challenging. That said, Jackson improves Arizona in short-yard situations as well as with pass protection.
Defenses would then honor that attack a bit more, which then allows the Cardinals' reliable receiving corps to make a stronger impact. Arizona desperately needs balance to move the ball consistently, and Jackson is a great option to consider.
Despite ranking No. 13 in rushing offense and averaging 4.6 yards per carry, the Carolina Panthers need a punishing Brahma Bull.
Yes, Jackson will be 30 years old next season and the Cats already have an array of backs such as DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert. However, Williams has also been in the trade discussions as well.
Per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
With trade deadline Tuesday, teams around league have contacted Carolina to inquire about RB DeAngelo Williams. Panthers willing to listen.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2012
Now, that doesn't indicate a straight up trade between the Rams and Panthers. But with Cam Newton as the offense's leading rusher and Williams not being nearly as consistent Jackson, Carolina needs a new No. 1 back.
In a division where establishing a sound rushing attack can have a significant impact, the Panthers would improve with Jackson's backfield presence.
Darren McFadden needs a more established running back to complement him in the Oakland Raiders' backfield.
Mike Goodson has been decent when provided with opportunities, but if Oakland were to bring in Jackson that would take much pressure off McFadden. Presenting an improving passing game with Carson Palmer, the Raiders need a two-back system for their offense to really hit another level.
We saw how well-balanced Oakland could be with Run DMC and Michael Bush, so adding Jackson recreates that tandem to a certain degree. Plus, the impact that each back has already had in pro football is a competitive advantage regarding formations in game situations.
There wouldn't be a complete need for a fullback, so the Raiders could utilize a split-back set with Palmer under center or shotgun. When you include the fullback, a heavy stack formation is feasible inside the red zone and allows for a better play-action.
After defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers and facing a rather manageable schedule in 2012's second half, Oakland has potential to make some noise. That only enhances with Jackson complementing McFadden in the backfield.
Cedric Benson was working out pretty well until his injury in early October.
On the bright side, Alex Green has stepped up for the Green Bay Packers with 163 rushing yards the past three games.
Still, Green Bay could use another stud running back to help keep the offense balanced. After all, the Packers gain just 93.6 rushing yards per game entering Week 8 and average fewer than four yards per carry.
When lining up against tough defenses capable of controlling the line of scrimmage such as Minnesota (twice), Chicago (again), Arizona and the New York Giants, a dynamic attack is imperative. The world knows that Aaron Rodgers will continue his rhythm at passing the rock; although, being one-dimensional cost Green Bay in 2011.
For the Packers to avoid a disappointing finish, provided they qualify for January, an even more punishing ground game must become evident. The question, however, is whether Benson can be depended on in December.
In short: giving Jackson an opportunity is the safer path.
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