After their team dropped the season finale to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon, many St. Louis Rams fans wondered whether quarterback Sam Bradford and running back Steven Jackson had played their last game together in a Rams uniform.
After the Rams agreed to let Jackson have the option of becoming a free agent after the season, many believe that Jackson will move on and that his career in blue and gold is over.
If it were up to Bradford, Jackson would be back in 2013, playing in front of the fans at the Edward Jones Dome next season.
“I don't even think I could tell you how much I would like to see him back here,” Bradford told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
I am going to beg him to stay. He told us after the game that he bleeds blue and gold and he wants to be here so hopefully we can make it work ... because like I said he is so valuable to this team and this locker room. To have him coming back would mean a lot.
Bradford would be right to beg Jackson to come back for several reasons.
Despite playing together for each of the past three seasons, Bradford and Jackson have done so with a different offensive coordinator in each of those years.
The pair has had to learn three new offenses in a row. Assuming that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer returns to the Rams sideline in the same role, Bradford and Jackson could benefit greatly from having the same offense in place for consecutive seasons for the first time. The duo would be able to rely on each other that much more.
Secondly, Bradford should want Jackson back because of his leadership ability. As the quarterback, Bradford has the responsibility of being the unquestioned leader of the team.
But with Jackson hanging around for another season in 2013, Bradford would have a partner in the locker room—somebody he can turn to that teammates will trust, listen to and look to for guidance.
The Rams are a very young team and with a bunch of draft picks next season, so head coach Jeff Fisher's squad should only get younger. Having a veteran like Jackson around can only help bring all the young players up to speed more quickly.
Finally, Bradford should want Jackson back because the powerhouse still has plenty left in the tank.
Jackson proved that this season by passing the 1,000-yard mark for the eighth consecutive season and doing so the same way he has every year. Jackson ran hard, particularly in the second half of the season, which was vital to the Rams' success down the stretch.
Jackson's ability to chew up the tough yards, help the offense control possession of the ball and his uncanny awareness in pass protection will be better for Bradford than any alternative the Rams could bring in.
Having a guy like Steven Jackson around in 2013 will continue to benefit Sam Bradford. The running back's leadership, durability and reliability can only help as the Rams continue to grow into a team able to compete in the suddenly stingy NFC West.
Bradford is smart and knows that he should beg for Steven Jackson to return in 2013. The Rams can only benefit from having Jackson around and Bradford knows it.