Rams’ Steven Jackson aims to break NFL record this season
ST. LOUIS – Steven Jackson always sets goals for himself. This year, the St. Louis Rams running back has his eye on the NFL single-season mark for yardage.
Jackson wants to break the current mark of 2,529 yards from scrimmage, set by former Ram Marshall Faulk in 1999. Last year, Jackson’s goal was 1,600 yards rushing; he fell just short with 1,528 yards.
Last year was still a breakout season for Jackson, who led the NFL with 2,334 yards rushing and receiving — 11 ahead of San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson. He caught 90 passes for 806 yards. Jackson’s performance earned him a berth in the Pro Bowl, his first in his three years with the Rams.
Now the 6-foot-2, 231-pound Jackson thinks he can surpass Faulk’s record. In 1999, Faulk rushed for 1,381 yards and added another 1,048 receiving in helping the Rams win the Super Bowl over Tennessee.
On the final day of a three-day minicamp at Rams Park, Jackson said good things will happen for the team if he reaches his goal.
“As a team goal, we want to win the Super Bowl,” Jackson said Thursday. “My personal goal is what I stated it was. I don’t put that pressure or that burden on anyone else, expect myself. To get to that number, I’m pretty sure we’re winning and we’ll be in the playoffs.”
Three other players have topped Jackson’s yardage from last year. In 2005, Tiki Barber compiled 2,390 yards. Tomlinson gained 2,370 total yards in 2003. Barry Sanders combined for 2,358 yards in 1997.
During the offseason, Jackson has been working on his pass route running.
“I’m working on becoming a leader,” said Jackson, who will be 24 in July. “Now that I’ve had the season I’ve had, I’ll be getting a lot more attention from the defenses and the defensive coordinators. I talk to my defense a lot. Guys that I trust, I ask them about different defenses.”
Rams coach Scott Linehan sees Jackson becoming more of a leader this season.
“He did more last year as the year went on,” Linehan said. “He mostly does his talking on the field with how he plays. At the end of the year, the team took on Steven’s demeanor and attitude with the way he was playing.”