Sometimes being healthy isn't the same thing as being "100 percent." On occasion, the two are mutually exclusive. Why? Because mental preparation can lag behind. So says Steven Jackson about the Cardinals and Panthers games.
Going into this week, I feel like myself again. Being game ready is not only a physical thing. It's a mental thing. Being several weeks into the season here, guys have been playing week-in and week-out. They're mentally sharp, they're hitting their assignments and doing what they're supposed to do at a quick tempo without thought. It's just reaction. When you come back after missing some time, you're trying to react, but you're still thinking about things. In the back of your mind, you want to make sure that you're 100 percent healthy. That makes it hard to be fluid.
Jackson's above-linked blog is a good read. He touches on a number of issues. Give it a read, if you have a chance.
I do think he makes a good point about his performance since coming back from injury. In many ways, we probably haven't seen just how effective he can be. From run blocking issues, to his thigh/quad injury, to the difficulty he apparently experienced getting up to speed mentally, Jackson probably has more in the tank than what has met the eye.
Jackson's contract is particularly team-friendly this year, but that changes in 2014. His cap hit jumps from $2.916 million to $4.166 million. Given that his 3 year contract guaranteed $4 million (only $500,000 of which went to Jackson this year), he'd represent $2.333 and $1.166 million in dead money in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
I really just hope he gets it together. Ideally that'd make the running game a lesser concern headed into 2014. By proxy, it'd also quiet any sort of "cut Steven Jackson!" talk during the off-season.