Jackson Talks With The Media

Steven Jackson

EARTH CITY, Mo. — St. Louis Rams running Steven Jackson was in good spirits following Wednesday afternoon's practice. He spoke to the media about his health, training camp, the differences in coach Steve Spagnuolo in year two and the offensive line coming together.

(On whether he altered his workout regimen this offseason)

"During the month of July I kind of ratcheted up the weight training portion of it. I was lifting twice a day, morning and evening. Then I would do my conditioning in between the two weights exercises. Years previous, I would run twice and lift once. So that allowed me to put on a little more muscle. I changed my diet: More healthy proteins in my diet and cut back on those carbs so I can just build up that good, good protein and build the muscle up that I think I need for the season."

(On whether he is pleased with the results of his workout change)

"You can never tell until I get into a game situation but practice, the speed of the game, my explosiveness in and out the hole, I feel crisp and I feel good. My lungs are there, my strength is there. So far, so good."

(On whether he will play Saturday against Cleveland)

"It still hasn't been...me and coach still haven't sat down and talked about if I'm going to play against Cleveland. I'm preparing as if I am going to go. I think it's easier going with that mindset of preparing to get ready to play. If he says I'm down, I've already been mentally in that capacity of thinking I'm going to play. I'm preparing myself as the courses of the season are going to come, making sure I get a good read on the defense and things like that. So I'm preparing as if I'm going to go Saturday. I'm pretty sure we'll have that conversation either tonight or tomorrow if I'm going to go. But mentally and physically I'm ready."

(On whether he would like to get a certain number of snaps on Saturday)

"I lean...either way, I've been in the offseason, in the preseason without playing games. I've participated in preseason games. I would say I would need it if I wasn't getting banged around, but we've had a pretty physical camp around here. The more time I can buy getting ready for Arizona without having to play a full-out game puts us in a more safe comfort. But at the same time, I've told you guys repeatedly I'm not worried about the back. I think it's something that probably...just get it on and over so we can stop answering the questions about it, but I feel great, though."

(On who has impressed him during this training camp)

"You know, I would say to be fair and honest to everyone, I think everyone. I would say from coach, his first year last year being a head coach, he didn't really quite know what to expect or how to go through a training camp and get the team ready. I've seen a difference in his coaching style and the way he's treating the guys and how he's taking care of us. Also, Sam Bradford. High-profile guy, coming in being humble but at the same time being competitive and catching on to the playbook and getting guys in the right direction. I'm impressed with his play. And then I'm impressed with some of our younger guys, free agent guys that are fighting for a job. So I think we have a good mixture of veterans and rookies. Although Saturday, I'll be honest, it wasn't the game we would like to play. But I think it gives us something on film to work on and gives us another three weeks to get ready."

(On how Coach Spagnuolo has changed his coaching approach)

"Well like today, I don't know if you guys saw it, but we did a little punt competition between the coaches. That would have never happened last year. To get a night off, that was...normally with Coach Spags, if something is scheduled to happen it was going to happen regardless because he had already made up his mind that it was going to happen. For him to cancel that off...it's funny, as professional athletes, you still want a bone. Once you get that bone, you want to go the extra mile for coach. That's one example. Secondly, cutting back on some of the live drills...thudding, we're still getting the physical play, but we're not going to the ground like we were last year. We really felt like the team going into Seattle Week 1, we felt like we were sluggish and tired, beat up still from training camp. I can really see that he's made a concerted effort to make sure we still play physical football, but he's made sure that we still are going to be able to go out and compete at a fast tempo."

(On whether he rooted for offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in the coach competition)

"Oh, of course. I was really surprised that all of the coaches caught two out of the three balls. They all tied and went into sudden death, and they all completed the punt. So I was really shocked. I really thought we were going to have meetings tonight."

(On what spontaneous activities such as coach competitions do for team morale)

"I think it helps. It's really tough when you have such a young team. The core of the team, the base of the team is really young. Then you have a few guys that are veterans that...you could honestly say that he has every right to give some of the veteran guys some days off or they're treating them a little differently. He's finding that mixture where he doesn't give anyone too much extra benefits over a younger guy. But at the same time, he's getting us to compete and work at the same level, a hard level. He's finding the middle ground, and that's pretty hard to do, especially...you know, if you're a veteran team, you can afford to give guys the night off more and trust them that they're going to study their playbook. When you have such a young team, you've got to try to guide them in a way. And it sucks for a veteran because you've been through it. But I think coach is finding that good middle ground to help everyone grow and get better."

(On how the team can benefit from a fight)

"I don't know what fighting does, but it's a part of football. It's been a long camp, it's been two weeks in, and offense and defense sometimes forgets we're on the same team. The competitive spirits of everyone gets into it but coach brought us together, we talked about it. The one thing I can say about this organization ever since I've been around: what happens on the field stays on the field, so that stuff doesn't leak over into the locker room and they're continuing to do so, so that's pretty good."

(On seeing Adam Goldberg and Jacob Bell back on the line)

"It is really good that once you get...hopefully what the starting five's going to be to work together and build that cohesiveness and get to practice together. That speaks a lot of volume. Now the thing is not to only get us on the field together, but to get us to work together and stay healthy through the duration of a season. I don't know how long it's been since we've had a starting o-line to start a season and complete it. I would think that's the biggest goal for us, and make sure that our five guys up front stay healthy and play together the whole season."

(On Coach Spagnuolo ending two-a-days early)

"I think that's another example of coach trying to make sure guys are healthy. It gives a lot of guys time to recover and get home with their families, their wives and their children and spend time with them. And also allowing guys to be able to compete on Saturday. Preseason, we try to downplay it and say that the win-losses doesn't matter, but it is men fighting for jobs and fighting for a dream. For coach to allow guys to recover and be able to compete at a high level to have a fair chance to win a job, that speaks volumes for what he's trying to do and the direction we're trying to go."

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