In 2012, Jacquizz Rodgers flashed his ability as a dangerous and explosive player in the open field, particularly in the passing game for the Atlanta Falcons. As his rushing and passing yards all went up from his rookie year, the Falcons need to find more ways to involve the third-year back into an offense that is one of the best in the NFL.
Rodgers had 94 rushing attempts for 362 yards and one touchdown, but his real value was shown in the passing game, as he caught 53 passes for 402 yards while backing up Michael Turner in his second season with the Falcons. For a team that will continue to be scary offensively, the Falcons have only scratched the surface of what type of player Rodgers can be.
With the signing of Steven Jackson, Rodgers will again take his role as a backup and a change-of-pace running back. There is no doubt that Rodgers is not an every-down back who can run through the gaps or tackles as effectively as Jackson, but in the passing game, Rodgers has elite speed and the moves to turn small plays into big gains.
In a league where we see many teams utilize small, evasive running backs as an extra receiver out of the backfield, Rodgers should be given the chance to be featured in an offense that could use his talents effectively.
Players like Reggie Bush, Darren Sproles and Ray Rice have made their impact felt through the passing game, even though they have the ability to run the ball as well. With Rodgers’ running game limited to outside or misdirection runs, he is much more suited for the Falcons’ passing attack that could even be more fun to watch if he was given the chance to be in more plays.
A great coach will use all the talent he has on his roster to maximize his football team, and an average team can become great if all of their assets are used properly — let alone a good one like the Falcons. If Atlanta wants to go the distance in their quest to become the last team standing in 2013, they will need to feature all of their talent and athleticism on the field, and Rodgers happens to be an asset that should not be forgotten.
Rodgers has the ability and talent to make an impact on the offense, but will need the chance and opportunity to to shine on an offense that is full of stars.