Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson finally returned from a nagging hamstring injury in Week 8, but it hasn’t been a triumphant return for either Jackson or the Falcons. Behind an offensive line that is playing absolutely atrocious football, Jackson has had one game in which he averaged 0.5 yards per carry and another with an average of just 1.2 yards per carry. His only solid game since his return from an injury was a 13-carry, 57-yard performance against a tough Carolina Panthers front seven.
Though Jackson has struggled on the stat sheet, the Falcons want more- not loss- Jackson. According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Vaughn McClure, bright offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter wants to give Jackson more carries, “My opinion is Steven Jackson is a workhorse running back and we haven’t been able to work him. I mean, I think Steven is one of those guys that gets better the more he touches it.”
Jackson is definitely regarded as one of the league’s finest workhorse backs, and yet he has never received more than 13 carries in a game this season. A big reason is because the Falcons have been playing from behind recently, and another reason is the fact that the Falcons are giving carries to Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers as well. While Rodgers’s explosiveness is really nice out of a change-of-pace back and Snelling can bring some positive things to the table, the Falcons signed Jackson for a clear reason. He was supposed to be this team’s next feature back and provide crucial balance to the offense, but the Falcons haven’t been committed enough to the running game for that to happen. Honestly, though, the biggest problem in the running game for the Falcons is an offensive line that just can’t generate any push, and they’ve been at least as bad in pass protection as well.