Falcons sign RB Steven Jackson

Falcons find Michael Turner's replacement, sign Steven Jackson

3/14/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

If you want to criticize one thing about the Atlanta Falcons' 2012 regular season production, look no further than the running game. A backfield led by an aging Michael Turner generated only 3.7 yards per carry, and finished the season ranked 29th in rushing yards.

The Falcons cut bait on Turner earlier this month, as he was set to make far more money than he is worth at this point in his career. The move sparked speculation of who they would find as Turner's replacement, as many people don't believe Jacquizz Rodgers (Turner's backup in 2012) could handle a feature back workload.
Blog Photo - Falcons sign RB Steven Jackson
The Falcons have now replaced Turner with the best running back on the market. They have signed Steven Jackson to a three-year contract.

Just about anyone who has followed the NFL at any point over the past eight seasons knows just who Steven Jackson is. He's been a workhorse for the Rams ever since Marshall Faulk took a back seat after the 2004 season. Jackson has carried the ball 235+ times in every season since becoming the Rams' lead back, and more impressively has run for over a thousand yards in each of those seasons. His eight straight thousand-yard seasons rank fourth among the most consecutive seasons reaching the four-digit benchmark. The only players with more consecutive thousand-yard seasons are Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, and Curtis Martin.

Jackson is a great fit in a high powered Falcons offense that lacked a between-the-tackles runner for the entirety of the 2012 season. Jackson will provide a new dynamic to the offense, which will force defenses not to focus solely on the Falcons' electrifying receivers. Jackson is also an underrated receiver in the passing game. He once racked up 90 catches in a single season, and the Falcons will surely utilize his ability to catch passes out of the backfield this year.

Although he'll be 30 years old by the start of next season, Jackson has not shown many signs of slowing down to this point. His 4.1 yards per carry in 2012 were only slightly lower than his career average of 4.2. He also managed to stay healthy in 2012, playing in all 16 games while racking up 295 touches.

He's likely to be the primary running back in the Falcons' backfield this season, with Jacquizz Rodgers factoring in similarly to how he did last year.

After convincing Tony Gonzalez to come out of retirement and upgrading at running back by signing Jackson, the Falcons' 2013 offense should be even more intimidating than it was in 2012.
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