Sports & Recreation

Best Rams Player 

Steven Jackson

After the team's miserable showing last year, incoming Rams coach Scott Linehan pretty much gets a free pass for '06-'07. But if fans aren't expecting a first-year miracle out of the new head coach, they are looking for tailback Steven Jackson to stand and deliver in his third pro season. Jackson's a big man, and the Rams' 2004 first-round pick out of Oregon State matched that late last year with a big mouth, complaining that outgoing head coach Mike Martz's game plan had given him short shrift. The six-foot-two, 231-pound Jackson finished the season with 1,046 yards rushing on 254 carries, for an average of 4.1 yards per; he carried the ball twenty times or more in only three games. This year, with Linehan's love of the running game and Marshall Faulk's absence from the picture — probably for good — Jackson is projected to get plenty more touches. If the top running back from the draft class of '04 can live up to his promise, the Rams' 2006-'07 record may well reflect the upgrade. We're betting that he can, and that it will.

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