St. Louis Rams running back Stephen Jackson addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, October 22, 2008.
Q: In week one [Adam] Pacman Jones had a comment concerning the Eagles where he said 'it's the Rams dude". I know you guys heard that. Does hearing that, provide motivation for you?
SJ: At the time it was really too far ahead for us to be concerned with his comments. We were well aware of them but when you are going through starting off 0-4, you're just trying to find the solutions within the locker room and organization to get the season turned around. Once we got that big win in Washington and we faced the Cowboys he wasn't with the team. It's definitely motivation, not only is he making the comment 'they only faced the Rams' but [there were] analysts that were saying that some college teams could beat us. We take pride in what we do and we got off to a rough start but I'm glad we've been able to turn it around.
Q: What has coach [Jim] Haslett done over the last couple weeks and what has he brought that coach [Scott] Linehan couldn't at the end?
SJ: To be honest with you I don't know. It's a funny situation, you hate that someone had to lose their job. You hate that anyone has to take the blame for all 53 men and the coaching staff on top of that for losing. But after the bye I think a lot of guys took that week off, really took a step away from football and kind of renewed their love for it and said that we can either turn this thing around or have a rough 12-game stretch. Going through [a] 3-13 season - that's something a lot of guys around here didn't want to do again. We still have a long way to go to fully say that we turned the ship around but we started off well.
Q: How is your leg feeling?
SJ: The leg feels good. We're not quite sure, we're still going to see what's going to happen for Sunday but I was able to do some rehab work with our weight coach, do some light lifting and some light pool work. We're just going to go from there. We're going to take it day to day. I'm pretty good with having a feel for my body and knowing where I'm at. I feel good, especially compared to Sunday.
Q: Did you feel that missing all that time in training camp slowed you down at the start of the season or were you ready to go right from the get go?
SJ: I'm actually coming into the fold of things. I came in great shape I was down in both my weight and body fat. I know you can't simulate all the things on the football field but as far as my conditioning I felt that I was right there ready.
Q: What in your mind was really the low point of the teams 0-4 start?
SJ: I don't know if I can really say one thing was the low point. I think as a team in general we're finishing games. We're playing four complete quarters of football and in those first four games I don't think we could say that. We competed in all four games but at some point we let it get away from us. Then guys kind of got down in the dumps and now when we hit adversity in a game you can see guys fighting through it. I think that's the difference between these last two games and the first four.
Q: Did you watch any of the Patriots Monday night game against the Broncos?
SJ: I watched a little bit of it. The first half, after that I didn't watch anymore. I thought the guys played well, like I expected them to at home. That's Monday night and the New England Patriots are used to playing on TV and in big games so I figured that their defense would come out and dominate and their playmakers would make plays and that's exactly what happened.
Q: What do you see from the Patriots front seven?
SJ: They do a great job running the 3-4 scheme. They probably run it, if not the best then one of the best in the National Football League. The guys are really sound in their responsibilities and in their gaps and they do a good job of tackling. If you do those two things you can see why the team was 18-0 in the regular season last year and in the playoffs. It's one of those games where, I'm not quite sure if the weather is going to be nice, but it's one of those games where you just have to be patient and keeping pounding away. If I come out and I do have a chance to play and I have little to no yards but we can keep them honest and respecting the running game I'll be happy with that if we come out with a win. I'm not really concerned about numbers. I'm more concerned about being able to contribute to my team and help them get a win. But first thing is first and that's making sure my quad is ready.
Q: No disrespect to Trent Green but did you feel it was a good move going back to Marc Bulger?
SJ: We were looking for something to turn the ship around and it didn't work. I think Marc [Bulger] is a guy that, you can't rule him out. He's a competitor and once he has protection he'll put the ball where it needs to be. We're in an offense where we have spots on the field to throw to and I think Marc does that with the best of them.
Q: Did you feel at all that coach [Scott] Linehan lost the team?
SJ: No. I don't think coach Linehan lost the team. In the NFL sometimes you're dealt a good hand, sometimes your deal a bad hand. Starting off with the four teams [we] started off the season with, it was a rough four games. We went winless and now, unfortunately, we've seen this trend of coaches losing their jobs in the middle of the season.
Q: When you were 0-4 coming off the bye week you had a little bit of a boost with the coaching change but you look at the schedule and you had the Redskins, Cowboys and Patriots that look pretty daunting. What was the mindset going into that?
SJ: Well you can never look ahead. You just take one game at a time. Washington was 4-1, on a four game winning streak, Dallas is probably the most talented team in the National Football League and you guys have yourselves so you just take it one game at a time. If you look ahead that's when you see teams fall to I don't want to say quote unquote 'gimme games' but it's the NFL. Every team has superstars.
Q: You just called Dallas the most talented team in the NFL. How big of a confidence booster and how much of a hurdle was beating them?
SJ: Well I want to get one thing straight, we have talent in this locker room too we just weren't clicking. For anyone to look at it as a gimme game that's their problem and their fault. We're going to come out and execute and at the end of 60 minutes we'll see what the scoreboard says.
Q: Still you said they were the most talented team so that had to be a hurdle and maybe a confidence booster for you guys?
SJ: We're talented too. I don't know if you heard me.
Q: When you were entering the league do you recall any interaction with the Patriots at all during the draft?
SJ: Before the Patriots acquired Corey Dillon there was some talk that I might end up in New England but it wasn't anything for sure. We knew that there were going to be some free agents out there that may entice some teams and Corey Dillon came up and was available. It really worked out for New England, he was a veteran guy and I understand the risks of taking a rookie and seeing how he's going to pan out compared to a guy that you've seen in the league that's proven. At one point it could have happened but it didn't.
Q: Did you come up to New England and meet with the folks here at all?
SJ: In my draft, when I was coming out I didn't take any visits.
Q: How about the young receivers, specifically [Donnie] Avery, how are they helping you?
SJ: They are helping tremendously. The safeties now have to respect his [Donnie Avery] speed and deep threat ability and it also frees up Torry [Holt]. The emergence of [Donnie] Avery these last two games has really helped our passing game, allowed us stretch the field, get into the opponents side of the field and into the red zone. It helps out everyone.