Atlanta Falcons veteran running back Steven Jackson figures to lose some carries and snaps to well-rounded Florida State rookie Devonta Freeman, who can catch passes out of the backfield, doesn’t struggle as a pass blocker, and possesses a nice blend of speed, agility, and power in the running game. Jackson is still the feature back, but that might even be subject to change, largely due to health issues that have resulted from an awful lot of wear-and-tear in this league from his days as a superstar on the St. Louis Rams.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Vaughn McClure, Falcons head coach Mike Smith stated that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Jackson playing in the team’s preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which will be on Thursday the 28th at 6:00 p.m. ET against Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars. It would be a nice, easy game for S-Jax, as the fourth preseason game is generally one where teams take things light with starters.
Jackson missed four games last season with a nagging hamstring injury, and hamstring issues will likely plague him for the rest of his career. The key is managing them, and the Falcons are currently managing another hamstring ailment, as he injured his left hammy in late July. The 31-year-old’s status for the final preseason game should be considered up-in-the-air, and I would tentatively expect the Falcons to hold him out. He doesn’t need the work, as he just needs to make sure he can run and properly on fresh legs to start the season. Jackson averaged a meager 3.5 yards per carry last season, but he should have a quality season if he can stay relatively healthy.