Jacquizz Rodgers is used to being underestimated.
At 5’6” and 196 pounds, most observers of the Atlanta Falcons merely dismissed him with nary a second glance, but Rodgers’ 2012 season was notable…if not necessarily outstanding. He stole the spotlight often from the now-former Falcon Michael Turner, and is well on the way to making a name for himself in his own right.
Rodgers has youth on his side; continued playing time and gained experience are ensuring that his diamond-in-the-rough edges are beginning to smooth out. Look for the addition of Steven Jackson to the roster to help in that smoothing process. As Jackson is still learning how the Falcons play the game, look for the Oregon State fellow alumni to rely on each other to get ahead…even as they compete against each other to be the featured running back.
Expect Rodgers and Jackson to share the responsibility—and the spotlight—but that certainly won’t put out the flames of competition from either player. Jackson has certainly said all the right things, even saying that “I just want to help like I’ve done with other guys. I won’t force it, but if he comes to me with questions and I have the answer, I will help him.”
All the right words notwithstanding, the underlying fact can’t be denied…they both want to be in a featured role. That being said, Rodgers can and will give Jackson a run for his money in that department.
It should also be noted that Rodgers proved himself a viable receiver as well. 53 catches on 59 targets is certainly nothing to be overlooked. The more the merrier, as far as feasible targets for QB Matt Ryan go.
Rodgers turned more than a few heads in the 2012 season. Look for that to continue in this year’s training camp and beyond.