Walker: By Land and By Air
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So now that we have talked about the players lifting the heavy artillery in the trenches we will now talk about the guys in charge of carrying the football for the Atlanta Falcons. Steven Jackson was another of the major free agent pickups for the “Dirty Birds” that I believe was excellent and fits several needs for the Falcons’ offense. In fact, Jackson, a workhorse back formerly of the St. Louis Rams may be the most important pick up for this team. Michael Turner was great for the Falcons’ Franchise, racking up a lot of yards, and was exactly what the team needed under previous Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularkey. However, once the team moved forward with Dirk Koetter the skill set needed for the running back changed.
Steven Jackson was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2004, at the end of the “Greatest Show on Turf” Era so he knows the vital elements of the passing game. At 6-2, 240 pounds, Jackson also knows how to run with authority as proven by 1,042 yards and 4.1 yard average just last season. But his contribution to the Falcons will be two-fold as his receiving ability should fit perfectly with this offensive attack along with his running ability especially in short yardage situations, hopefully keeping the other offense off the field. It was believed that the offense was set in stone for the Falcons but this acquisition will also help the defense. There is always the concern that the injury “bug” may impede Jackson along with the production for most plus-30 year old backs typically declining, but he fits what the Falcons want to do offensively.
Complementing Jackson, will be Jacquizz Rodgers, the 5-6, 196 pound “thumper” that has proven his worth in the last two seasons as a great change of pace back. He also fits the Dirk Koetter mold as a dual threat player, being able to run between the tackles for his size, just ask Earl Thomas and as a receiver Rodgers had 53 receptions for 402 yards last season. Jackson and Rodgers will be a formidable duo for the Atlanta Falcons. Jason Snelling, the 6th year player out of Virginia will back up Jackson and continues to do whatever the club needs to succeed along with Antone Smith the 4th year player out of Florida State. Snelling and Smith are also standout special teams performers. Bradie Ewing is set to play fullback but look out for Ronnie Wingo, the 6-3, 231 pound rookie out of Arkansas, who may also have something to say about the position. Overall, the position is solidified but the fan base should be cautiously optimistic because anytime at team brings in a free agent you never know what you will get.
Jamie Walker is a Producer and the Atlanta Falcons Blogger for Sports Radio 92.9 The Game. Follow him on Twitter @coachjdub21 or comment by email Jamie.Walker@cbsradio.com.