Jackson enters this week with 7,105 career yards, 140 behind franchise leader Eric Dickerson. Judging by his history, the likelihood is that he would pass Dickerson next week in Tampa Bay. To do it this week would mean having a huge game against a team that is allowing 86.4 yards rushing per game, seventh-best in the NFL. To do it at home on Oct. 31 against Carolina (the day wide receiver Isaac Bruce’s number will be officially retired) would mean he’d be held under his career average for two games.
Jackson has played 89 games and started 77 in his career. Overall, he has averaged 79.8 yards rushing per game and he has averaged 79.6 this season. In his 77 starts, he has averaged 85.6 yards.
Said Jackson, “I’d like to break the record as soon as possible, but I think it would be special to do it at home in front of the home crowd. But the one thing that I am focusing on is help leading this young team to a win. If I have to carry 40 times, I think that puts me at better chances of breaking the record, but I’m ready for a heavy workload, be it pass pickup or if it’s going to be running the ball.”
In each of his previous six seasons, Jackson has had at least one game with more than 140 yards. In 2006 and 2008, he had two. But, he has only once had one of those games earlier than the eighth game of the season. Ironically, that was in the sixth game of the 2008 season, when he rushed for 160 yards in a 34-14 win over Dallas. Two have been in the eighth game of the season and every other one has come in the last three games of the season. Not surprisingly, six of the eight 140-yard or more games came in victories.
Jackson also realizes how well the team would have to play this week to win against the talented Chargers.
He said, “I think we had a good week of practice and we all are aware of the challenge that San Diego brings to us, especially as an offensive unit. We know that overall they are ranked No. 1 in defense (actually second), so we have to be pretty dialed in in our assignments. They have a pretty impressive pass rush as well, so we’ve got to make sure that we take care of our responsibilities. Just as I expected, the practices have been pretty outstanding.”
As for approaching Dickerson’s club standard, Jackson said, “I’ve always been a fan – I’m a little biased – towards big running backs. His speed, his awareness on the field, his vision. I think he embodies everything that I would like to be.”
Asked about his health, Jackson said, “100 percent. I feel great. All is well with the groin and I feel pretty good.”
Howard Balzer is the Editor/writer for GridIronGateway Magazine. For subscription information visit GridIronGateway.com (reduced online rate of $39.95) or call 888-979-0979. You can also follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/HBalzer721