Can Jacquizz Rodgers Carry The Load For The Atlanta Flacons?
Last season it became clear to the Atlanta Falcons that Michael Turner was no longer the elite running back he once was. He no longer had the speed he once had, he could no longer cut with the same precision and he was no longer the power option capable of gaining the short yardage in key moments of games. This diminished display of skills led to Turner splitting carries with second year back, Jacquizz Rodgers. The results were varied, and now it looks as though Turner will no longer be around to carry his share.
With Turner out in Atlanta, the question the becomes who will carry the load for the Falcons?
The first candidate is obviously Rodgers, who had plenty of chances in 2012. The problem is, he does not look like he is built to carry the load of an every-down back. Rodgers skill set is geared toward getting to the edge or catching the dump pass out of the backfield. He is not the run up the middle type of back that can get the tough yards needed on a regular basis.
Rodgers is a fantastic talent, and he will be a terrific weapon for the Falcons moving forward, but there is no way a team that made it to the NFC Championship game is going to put all of their stock in a back who was only able to manage 3.9 yards per carry despite his workload nearly doubling from his first season. The most telling mark on his stat sheet is that he earned more yards in the passing game, on nearly half the attempts. This showcases the fact that Rodgers is more suited towards the elusive change of pace, then the ground and pound option they had in Turner.
It is highly unlikely that Atlanta will put even the bulk of the backfield duties on Rodgers in 2013. The Falcons are sure to be on the hunt for another bruiser with good speed to compliment the shifty scatback.
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