Jun 18, 2013; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter shown on the field during minicamp at the Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

NFL: How Steven Jackson will Affect NFC South

This is not breaking news, but the Falcons signing of Steven Jackson will be one of the best moves by any team this offseason. The full impact of his acquisition won’t be felt until later in the year. The Falcons are favorites to win the NFC South this season and rightfully so, they won it in 2012 and it can be argued they have only gotten better. I don’t hide my allegiances (just look at my pen name), but this Falcons team worries me. Already equipped with a fantastic passing attack, add Jackson to the mix, and they have significantly improved their running attack while having another receiving option for Matt Ryan.

Jun 18, 2013; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson (39) shown on the field during minicamp at the Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Jackson is a well-recognized name. For nine seasons he toted the rock for the Rams and he did so effectively. In those nine seasons with St. Louis, Jackson rushed for more than ten thousand yards. This while averaging better than four yards per attempt. Perhaps more impressive is in that same time span, Jackson managed to bring in over four hundred receptions for greater than three thousand three hundred yards. That is better than eight yards per reception. Wow! That’s right, over eight yards every time he catches the ball. What an incredible addition for Matt Ryan. This is a case of the Falcons having an embarrassment of riches.

There are those who may think Jackson has been run ragged while with the Rams. Quite the contrary, while with St. Louis, he averaged a very pedestrian two hundred sixty-six rushes per season. In this era of 300 or even up to 350 rushing attempts annually by some of the more work horse backs (such as former Falcon Michael Turner) Steven Jackson has relatively low mileage. Earlier in this post I mentioned Jackson’s impact for Atlanta won’t really be felt until later in the season. Here’s what I mean.

Jackson is 6’2” and 240 pounds. He is a big man, hard to tackle and possesses very good speed. Toward the end of the season, defenses are tired, sometimes even injured and frankly just are not as fresh as in September or October. This is when the Falcons could make full use of #39. He could batter opposing defenses and literally break their will. Not only in the run game, where the Falcons staff should pound the ball, but also in the passing game, by swinging him out and allowing him to get the ball and build up a head of steam to blast through oncoming tacklers. This is what scares me. Steven Jackson has plenty left in the tank and I know Atlanta will make full use of all he has left. Jackson could be the piece missing from last years team. And he may be enough to get them back into the big game.

  

The Falcons are in a prime position to make a deep playoff run. That’s not to say the rest of the NFC South is without talent, but Atlanta has a loaded offense. There are some big questions on the defensive side of the ball for the Falcons, but there is no doubt they will be able to put up lots of points. This will be especially true at that indoor race track known as the Georgia Dome. All NFL defensive coordinators will need to stock up on their aspirin and Tylenol, because this season, the Falcons are going to give them all kinds of headaches.

God Bless!

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Tags: Atlanta Falcons NFC South NFL Steven Jackson

  • ahrcshaw

    We will see when the time comes. Go Panthers.

    • Lucio Ayon Perez

      Panthers LOL?? no disrespect at all, but even you QB likes and loves the Falcons i bet you anything MR. Cam Newton, would love to be on Matt Ryan’s shoes right now, now if Cam Newton can get more Mentally Mature and starts acting like the leader he suppose to be then Panthers have a chance, but NFC south its gonna me a battle field, for the Panthers to come on top on the division they have to play and be better than Falcons and Saints, i don’t even count the Buccaneers, as long as Freeman its their QB that team would be doomed, bottom line: truly NFC south its already a 2 horse rice Falcons and Saints. #RISE UP !!!

      • ahrcshaw

        Your response about Cam was great, but he is going and growing so like you say the battle in the NFCS is going to be nasty as usual. More then likly the 4 teams will split so they all we be 4-4 in the conference. Next up their home and away games, even thought the Panthers schedule is harder, their away games should be easier. Meaning I have not got a clue and won’t know until I watch each game and the season is over. Have a good one, and Go Panthers.

      • KD

        If you continue to harp on the past, you’ll completely miss what Cam has already done to mature as a teammate. Cam is his own biggest critic, and he has already recognized that it’s time for him to begin taking over as the leader of the Panthers…Just don’t be upset when you can’t use that same lame excuse next season…

  • veazy

    Quick question from a Tolbert fan. How do the Panthers plan on utilizing him?

    • ahrcshaw

      I would hope they utilize the talents of every player and spread the running and passing around similar to the way T Brady does. The Panthers had a lot of unused talent last year in both running and passing receivers but Chud elected to use the RO and highlight Cams abilities and not utilizing the skills of the other players. Shula, hopefully will force Cam thru play selections to spread the passing and running game around, which will increase Cam’s and everyone else’s stats and thus improve the whole offense. To me this is the key to this offense being a top 5 or a top 10. Tolbert will be used as a lead blocker just like Hoover was, but also in the slot and tail back unlike Hover., Or let me say he should be.

      This Panther team has a lot of people with good hand that they have not really tested, and a lot of running ability other then just Cam and I hope they realized this last year. I just hope the Coach’s are smart enough to spread the wealth around, and it is called OC Play calling and proper player injections. Just think what would happen if T Guinn was on one side, LaFell on the other, Smittie in the slot Olsen and the O line in a power R run formation, with Cam under center, Tolbert and D Williams in the power I. What would the defense have to do? Move the players around substitute some of the young guys in what ever. The key is using this training camp to separated those who can and then relining on them. I think the Panthers have a lot of guys you can rely on so Cam has not got to get more dynamic he needs to get more constant and reliable like T Brady is.

  • adam lea

    The falcons have great skill players on offense no doubting that. The offensive line on the other hand is mediocre at best. Its hard to make plays when helping your qb off the ground. The panthers front 7 will dominate the falcons . Imho its acctualy the bucs that make for a tougher match up then the saints and falcons. The game is won or lost in the trenches and the falcons o line and d line are not built for playoffs.