St. Louis Rams Made Right Move Letting Steven Jackson Go

Mike MoraitisAnalyst ISeptember 19, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Steven Jackson #39 of the Atlanta Falcons leaps out onto the field during pregame introductions against the St. Louis Rams at Georgia Dome on September 15, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

As a longtime St. Louis Rams fan, it was difficult to see the team let running back Steven Jackson walk after last season, but it's looking like St. Louis made the right move after all.

Jackson's career with the Rams was an individually successful one, although his former squad was never able to muster up good seasons with him in the backfield.

Despite the franchise's overall ineptitude during his nine-year tenure in St. Louis, Jackson compiled 1,000 yards or more in eight seasons and never played fewer than 12 games per. Jackson even proved to be a threat through the air as the 30-year-old once gained 806 yards in that facet back in 2006.

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 30:  Running back Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 30, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

None of those great seasons ever translated into a winning recipe for the Rams. Because of that, there always felt like there was unfinished business and that Jackson undoubtedly deserved better than the lackluster records of his respective squads.

For the most part, Rams fans were sad to see him go, but the prospect of Jackson joining a winning team in the Atlanta Falcons with the chance to win a much-deserved Super Bowl made it a little easier to swallow.

Ask any Rams fan and most likely they will tell you Jackson is one of the most underrated backs in the history of the game. He always made the most of what he had—which wasn't much—and thrived no matter what his role was.

Jackson should be considered a future Hall of Famer, and should grace the halls in Canton when his days in the NFL are over.

But the Rams were at a crossroads with the veteran. With a new coach and a rebuilding process finally beginning to yield results, the team made the hard decision to cut ties in order to save some money, and the fact that Jackson would be 30 in 2013-14 probably factored into the equation as well.

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 8: Head coach Jeff Fisher of the St. Louis Rams watches from the sidelines during a game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Edward Jones Dome on September 8, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas/Getty Images

That's the notorious age for running backs to begin their decline, as we've seen it time and time again. Now, Jackson will be out for the Falcons Week 3 matchup with a thigh injury, per

Injuries are nothing new for Jackson. Throughout his career he has always done a great job playing through his ailments, but the fact that his problems are coming at the age of 30 after just two games with a new team is a major cause for concern.

Granted, the Rams would love to have Jackson now that their offense seems to be getting itself together for the first time in years, but there's no guarantee Jackson could have taken the field on a regular basis.

St. Louis has a mediocre rushing attack at the moment, and the organization has yet to find a true replacement that can play on the level Jackson did. But this team is getting younger and changing its offensive focus, so Jackson didn't exactly fit in anymore.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams calls out to his offense during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on September 15, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The offense is now fully centered around quarterback Sam Bradford and it's clear this is his team now, as it has slowly become the case the past few seasons. The 25-year-old has started off the season with guns blazing, throwing for 651 yards and five touchdowns to the tune of a 63.4 percent completion rate in two games.

Now that Bradford is coming into his own with some help around him, the Rams may not have utilized or needed Jackson as much as they did in the past. That makes the downgrade in the backfield that much easier to handle this season.

There is nothing left to do but appreciate what Jackson brought to the Rams for all those years. He was the single constant that brought at least a shred of credibility to St. Louis' offense during the dreadful years.

However, it's just time to say goodbye. And in hindsight, the Rams did it at the right time.