Since Steven Jackson‘s hamstring injury back in Week 2 against his former team the St. Louis Rams, running backs Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling have been in charge of rushing the ball for the Atlanta Falcons. With the loss against the New England Patriots on Sunday night, one thing the Falcons should strongly consider is this: give the ball to Rodgers, period.
While the Falcons have become quite the pass-heavy team, they are still at their very best when they have a complimentary running game as it sets up the play-action pass, which Matt Ryan is very good at. With that being said, Rodgers has shown that he is not only a tough runner, but a playmaker in the passing attack as well.
Against the Patriots, Rodgers rushed the ball seven times for 32 yards with an average of 4.6 yards per carry and also caught six passes for 56 yards with an average of 9.3 yards per catch. As for his teammate in Snelling, he got eight carries for 26 yards and one catch for eight yards.
In a game where the Falcons clearly should have run the ball more, Rodgers has proven to be a valuable player as he could turn out to be an impact player for the Falcons with the potential of being a mini Ray Rice version type of player. At 5-foot-6 and weighing at 196 pounds, the former fifth-round pick has shown flashes of his ability to be a great asset in an explosive offense that needs help due to multiple injuries.
Rodgers’ best game came against the Miami Dolphins where he rushed the ball 18 times for 86 yards with 4.8 yards per carry. Although Rodgers has not scored a single touchdown in the first four games, he hasn’t gotten many opportunities around the goal line, where either Jackson or Snelling will get that run.
Still, the interesting fact is that while Rodgers has displayed his soft hands in catching passes, the Falcons have not taken yet advantage of not only his dual-threat abilities, but the mismatches that he causes for opposing defenses. Rodgers can be the Falcons’ version of what Pierre Thomas is to the New Orleans Saints or what Reggie Bush is for the Detroit Lions.
In his third year in the NFL, it is time for the Falcons to start giving Rodgers more touches and opportunities to see what the youngster truly has, and whether or not he can be more than just a change-of-pace back for the rest of his career.