(Football StL) -- You can’t blame Steven Jackson for wanting to test free agency and try to hook up with a team that has realistic Super Bowl aspirations. He would seem to be a perfect fit in Atlanta. If anybody deserves a chance to play for a contender it’s him. He’s been a great solider for the Rams over the years, and the best player for a lousy team through most of his career.
At first glance, his departure might seem like a terrible thing for a Rams teams already desperate for offensive firepower. But Jeff Fisher won’t be panicking over this. He’d like to have Jackson in his backfield, but not at the $7 million dollar salary SJ39 would have made this year in St. Louis. Jackson’s been an extremely durable player who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards for eight consecutive seasons. But how much does he have left in the tank? He’ll turn 30 in July and has an awful lot of mileage on that body.
As good as Jackson has been with the Rams, the one thing he hasn’t done is break a many long runs or score a lot of touchdowns. He’s an outstanding power back, but he’s not a breakaway threat. The Rams didn’t score a single touchdown last year on a run of more than 10 yards. They’ve been a team that needs long, sustained drives to score, and that’s not a good recipe for success in today’s NFL.
The Rams are desperate for high octane play makers, both at wide receiver and running back. Jackson’s departure will give them a chance to get younger, faster, and hopefully more explosive.Darryl Richardson and Isaiah Peed were drafted last year as running backs and both showed flashes of promise.
The Rams will likely draft another running back this year. Alabama’s Eddie Lacy would be an intriguing pick with one of the Rams two choices in round one. He’s a big back at 6’0”, 220 pounds. He ran for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide in 2012, then ran wild against Notre Dame in the BCS championship game for 140 yards and a touchdown. He’d be a great compliment to Richardson and Peed.
The Rams probably won’t be able to replace Jackson’s production with one player, but two or three younger, quicker runners just might make for a better offense anyway.