You can figure out a lot about how good a team is by what kind of issues people are talking about. If people think the head coach or quarterback aren’t any good, there’s a solid chance that team is bad. But in the case of the Atlanta Falcons, their issues and question marks are very minor. A good example of that is their running back situation.
When it comes to an offense as good as the Falcons, you really have to look close for any potential weaknesses or areas of improvement. The Falcons definitely improved their backfield with the signing of Steven Jackson this offseason, who replaced the declining Michael Turner. Jacquizz Rodgers represents the other half of the running backs in Atlanta, and he’ll likely be looking for a few more touches in 2013.
Jackson is set to turn 30, so naturally people are expecting him to start slowing down this season. I don’t think that will be the case, but I do think the Falcons have to do a very good job of keeping him fresh. That’s of course where Rodgers comes in, and one of the minor things the Falcons must execute – a balanced rushing attack.
Whether it’s going to be 60/40 Jackson, or 70/30 Jackson, Atlanta needs to get the formula in place early in the season and stick to it. They would be wise to give Rodgers more than his 94 carries from a year ago, and to decrease Jackson’s 257 carries from 2012. Balancing those two numbers is crucial to the Falcons’ success.
Steven Jackson wasn’t brought in to help the Falcons win during the regular season. Let’s face it, they could probably still make the playoffs with only Rodgers if they had to, but Jackson gives them that short-yardage bruiser they desperately need. His legs need to be fresh in January, because we all know the difference one yard can make in the postseason.
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