Atlanta fans are rejoicing, following the news they received about the signing of free agent running back Steven Jackson. Jackson, 29, was considered one of the best running backs on the market after he voided his contract with St. Louis. Last season the former Ram ran for 1,042 yards on 257 carries, and added 4 touchdowns. Jackson has quite a few miles on him considering he has had three 300-carry seasons, but still has plenty of gas left in the tank. Jackson was an iconic player in St. Louis, and is poised to bring his tough running style to Atlanta.
The Falcons had a combined rushing attack of Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers in 2012, and weren’t exactly stellar finishing 29th in the league in rushing yards. Turner was not the same player as he was in the past, he seemed very slow, and was very ineffective making defenders miss. If you ask me, the best running back in an Atlanta uniform was Rodgers. The Falcons released the declining Turner, and they know that Rodgers is not a 3 down back. That left a hole at running back, and they went out and snagged the best power runner in free agency.
What Jackson can bring to the Falcons is a tough runner that can be used in 3rd and short scenarios. The Falcons seemed to be more effective in 3rd and 7, than in 3rd and 1 last season, and that had to do with the lack of the running game. The Falcons were definitely a pass first team in 2012, and Jackson will be able to help balance that out if need be.
With a high octane passing game with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez, Jackson won’t see 300 carries, but he certainly will be a very important piece to the Falcons offense. Lastly, the thing that gets overlooked about the Falcons in 2012 was the issue of finishing games in the second half. It was most evident in the playoffs when in both games against Seattle and San Francisco the Falcons jumped out to a big, early lead, but then let it slip away.
The main reason for that was the lack of the running game that could bleed the clock. Steven Jackson could play a big role in the 2nd half when the Falcons will need to be able to protect leads. All in all, this was a very good signing for Atlanta, and Jackson will be a key piece in helping the Falcons make a push for a Super Bowl title this season.