Steven “ I Don’t Smoke Crack Son” Jackson
Photo Credit: John Martinez Pavliga
“The more beef they bring Killa, the more steak to feast on.” - Killa Sin
Big Poppa Pockets: I haven’t done an episode of “Beef: The Series” in a while, but that lil’ quote sums it up right. Justin Ochy-whatever the fuck his name is wants to do battle. He’s in Ryan Mathews’ corner and I’m reppin’ Steven Jackson. You decide in the end who you’d rather take (pause).
Take a dump, and make the jump:
I’ll throw the first jab here (which, of course, is equivalent to the force of six Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks). We’ll start the obvious: Mike Tolbert. Dude will be poaching most of the rushing TDs. Tolbert is also good enough to carry the ball 10-15 times a game if he’s running well. With Philip Rivers around, you know the Chargers will be throwing a lot. Oh yeah, Ryan Mathews also spells his last name with only one “t,” which sucks.
Steven Jackson? He doesn’t have a Mike Tolbert peeking over his shoulder. When they get in the red zone, Jackson will get his touches. The Rams are also an up and coming offense, so they should do a better job of moving the ball up the field. Sure Jackson has lost a step, but he’s the unquestioned carry machine in St. Louis.
I’m tickled with excitement over your rebuttal Justin, because by the end of this post, you will need a “rebuttal” to reattach the ass I’ve just handed to you (pause).
Justin Occhionero AKA The Phenom, Captain Oaktree, The Savant: Thank you oh holy Starbs for that expletive-laden yet informative introduction. Many of your musings are indeed true. Steven Jackson is indeed the workhorse of the Rams, one who has eclipsed the 1,000 yard plateau five years running. He is undoubtedly a consistent commodity, one many would gladly pounce on early in drafts.
Alas, I am here to refute your arguments, and although my language may not contain as many profanities, its persuasive power will surely rise to the occasion. I solemnly declare that Ryan Mathews will out produce Steven Jackson in 2011.
First, there’s the workload factor. Being a “true” number one running back is a strenuous endeavor, one that often leads to injuries. Keep in mind that Jackson has carried the ball 664 times the past two years, a feat only Chris Johnson has surpassed (674). Seeing as Jackson has a troublesome injury history and an already tumultuous start to the preseason, banking on a full season of work from Jackson is a bit too risqué for my taste.
You may argue that the younger, fresher Mathews also has an injury history. This may be true, although as our resident physical therapist already stated, and I quote: “I can’t call Mathews an injury risk because of one lost season.”
The undeniable truth is that Mathews is loaded with talent and is aching for the opportunity to show his worth. Even with Tolbert snagging some goal line work away from him, Mathews will be the go-to guy in the San Diego backfield. He has a legitimate chance of rushing for 1,000+ yards and if his preseason work sheds light on his future success, we could see him reaching pay dirt 8-10 times.
I’ll leave it at that for now and although not my style, I’ll be on the lookout for the “rebuttal” you so desperately need.
Baby Dolemite: So you pretty much are siding with Mathews simply because he’s “fresher, younger” right? Well he didn’t look so “fresh” when he was falling down upon first contact last year. He also didn’t sound so “fresh” when he reported to camp out of shape. As for his preseason work shedding “light on his future success”... what games are you watching? Mathews hasn’t been anything spectacular this preseason and he’s locked in as a platoon RB.
Let’s not forget that everyone pretty much had Mathews pegged as a late first round/early second round fantasy draft pick, but that was all based on his situation. Mathews does a lot of things well, but he’s not a game-changer in terms of talent. Yeah he has good speed, but the great “vision” people were talking about last year just allows him to have a better view of him getting his ass kicked on the football field. Fact is, Tolbert outplayed him badly last year, even looking more elusive than the quicker Mathews (Tolbert was 10th overall in Yards After Contact Percentage). Plus, Mathews needs work in pass protection, something that could keep him off the field for more snaps than you anticipate. Look, the bottom line is that Mathews isn’t breaking out of this platoon. If Tolbert stays healthy, Mathews will have to kill it with his limited touches in order to register 1,000 yards. As for the 8-10 scores.... again, he’ll have to do serious work with the touches he gets to reach such lofty heights.
Steven Jackson, on the other hand, will hit 1,000 yards in his sleep as long as he’s healthy. Yeah I know S-Jax seems to be getting more nicked up as time goes on, but he’s one of the toughest players in the league and is always on the field. Sure his motor isn’t what it used to be, but the Rams offense should be better overall due to Sam Bradford’s development and the improvement of the offensive line.
What say you Justin? Can you even utter that Mathews is a better talent than Tolbert? Because everything we’ve seen from the two to date suggests that the only thing Mathews has on him is quickness and better hands. Tolbert breaks more tackles, has the goal-line duties locked down, is better in pass protection (and thus, keeps himself from getting off the field), and is just straight up better than Mathews. Shit, this beef should be between Tolbert and Mathews.
Justin O: No need to utter it, I’ll put it in writing. Ryan Mathews is a better talent than Mike Tolbert. Now onto the task at hand. A bad preseason? Clearly you’re deluded. Mathews has been receiving only praise. Want proof? here’s a little excerpt from Norv Turner describing his second year back. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
“Mathews had an outstanding pre-season game Sunday. He’s going to get the chance to show he’s in great shape because he’s going to get opportunities.”
Encouraging words to say the least. As for his apparent inability to shed tacklers, take a gander at his 15 yard TD scamper against the Cowboys. I counted three missed tackles, you can count again if you don’t believe me.
As for his platoon situation, there’s not much I can say against it. Yes, he will be sharing carries, likely hampering his true potential. Having said that, I think it’s important to understand that Mathews will still get the majority of the carries. In fact, according to San Diego Beat writer Kevin Acree, Mathews and Tolbert are set to enter a 220 to 150 split. This, however, could change once the season goes on. Remember last year when similar expectations were given to Michael Bush and Darren McFadden? Look how that turned out after Run DMC’s monstrous start to the year. The truth of the matter is Mathews will get the touches on early downs, and if he impresses and continues to improve in pass protection, he could find himself slowly escaping the platoon.
Jackson is a good back, I already stated that. I just, again, can’t see him playing a full season. In the early rounds, I rarely see a point in drafting aging backs, especially ones as injury prone as Jackson. You are right when you say that Bradford will progress and that the offense will improve. The problem, however, is that with Josh McDaniels running the plays, St. Louis will undoubtedly be a pass first team, which is not something that bodes well for Jackson. Just look at what happened to Denver’s running game last year, they ranked 26th in total rushing yards and 27th in rushing attempts. The signs are clear, and they all point to a decline in Jackson’s fantasy production.
Mathews’ signs, however, are all good and all point to a breakout campaign. It also is pleasing to see that his ADP at Yahoo currently holds at 69. That’s incredible value for a potential top tier RB2. He’s got the talent, all he needs now is the opportunity. If what is being told to the masses is true, he will get his opportunities this year and thus you can bank on the 2011-2012 season being Ryan Mathews’ breakout year.
That’s all we got, now it’s your turn. Who do you think will be the better pick in 2011, Ryan Mathews or Steven Jackson?
@mdtuzo 4.3 YPC is something to get excited about? Look, Mathews is definitely faster, but you can't emphatically state that he's more elusive than Tolbert, who is a tough guy to bring down and gained more yards after contact last year than Mathews. Norv Turner has stated over and over again that this is a platoon since both runners are so different and will be more effective as a duo than as a classic "starter/change of pace" combo. As for San Diego running it a ton.... Norv Turner loves to run, but Rivers has just gotten better every year and as dumb as Turner can be, you know that Rivers is gonna have plenty of opportunities to sling it all over the field. Add it all up, and Mathews will need to be a beast with his limited touches in order to get a role big enough to make him a DMC-like breakout candidate.
Tolbert is not a big threat to Mathews; it surprises me that not many people have the foresight and intuition to realize this. Even with Mathews' "disappointing" year, he averaged 4.3 ypc and scored 7 TDs and gained 800+ total yards in 12 games. And that's with Tolbert scoring 11 TDs. Mathews is a speedy runner who makes quick cuts and changes direction easily; if you've watched him last year, you can see he is clearly faster, more talented, and more elusive than Tolbert, which is why Mathews is set to receive more touches than Tolbert this year. The goal line poacher isnt as serious as a threat as you might imagine (Think Ray Rice/Le'Ron McClain, Darren McFadden/Michael Bush, Chris Johnson/Lendale White, Maurice Jones-Drew Fred Taylor). And all this talk about the Chargers not running the ball a lot, they were 9th in rushing attempts last year (457), with 340 of those touches going to Mathews + Tolbert. The Chargers feel Mathews is an elite talent and drafted him accordingly so it isn't difficult to see him getting between 200-220 rushing attempts on the season. If he stays healthy, he has a good chance of getting 7-10 TDs and 1500-1600 total yards. Thats McFadden territory folks.
@mdtuzo Tolbert is going to steal 8 or more TD, I would consider that a pretty big threat. And he's more than just a poacher, he's getting carries outside the 5-yard line. This is a time share. Le'Ron McClain is not a good example. And neither is MJD, Chris Johnson or DMC who are more talented than Mathews and got more touches.
@andrewakamds@mdtuzo MDS is right, this isn't your garden variety poacher. Tolbert has earned carries (between the 20s) in addition to the poaching. Comparing a time share to a full-time back, regardless of "talent" seems foolish. Where SJax may lose rushing yards, he will gain in td's due to the improved offense as well as receiving yards considering he'll be checked down a lot (Sims-Walker et al aren't exactly magnanimous talents..no offense Danario).
Side Note: As mentioned in the article, where could one find Yards After Contact Percentage?
@Starbonell nice thx
@andrewakamds Your secret is out! Danario, please make sure to be opposite MSW so that I can keep you in many of my leagues. Also, please supersede MSW and become last year's Brandon Lloyd. That is all. Thx.
how did you know Danario frequents this place? especially the comment sections. I was supposed to keep that a secret.
I don't see any way Mathews ends up with more fantasy points than SJax this year without and injury to SJax or Tolbert. The argument about Josh McDaniels' offenses being incapable of supporting a strong running game is misleading. Who were Denver's options at RB last year, Moreno and Buckhalter? Fading skills or not, SJax is far and away a better RB than those two clowns and is St. Louis' best player by a landslide, he'll get his. He's also excellent as a receiver out of the backfield, so his value in PPR leagues gets a small boost. I don't buy the DMC comparison for Mathews either, I think a better comparison is Ray Rice 2 seasons ago, when Rice was the between the 20's guy while McGahee was taking all the TD's. Only problem is that both Rice and DMC are far more talented than Mathews and play for run oriented teams. While I think Mathews could provide a profit and perhaps better draft day value than SJax, it's crazy to think he'll outscore him overall.