Steven Jackson gives Falcons dual threat at RB

By CHARLES ODUM - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-30 16:03

ATLANTA (AP) - There's a new name on the list of Matt Ryan's top receiving targets.

It's Steven Jackson.

For the first time in Ryan's six seasons, the Falcons' starting running back is a dual threat as a runner and receiver. Jackson has the most catches of any NFL running back in his nine seasons, a fact sometimes overshadowed by his eight straight seasons with 1,000 yards rushing.

Jackson, who left the Rams to sign a three-year, $12 million deal with the Falcons, is replacing Michael Turner, who was rarely used as a receiver out of the backfield.

The Falcons' already potent offense now looks even stronger. Ryan can throw screen passes to Jackson when he's not targeting tight end Tony Gonzalez and receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones.

Jackson's career high of 90 catches with St. Louis in 2006 easily tops Turner's career total of 70. Jackson had 38 catches last season.

Jackson's versatility fits well with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter's philosophy. Though Turner was a one-dimensional back as a starter, Koetter still brought a new emphasis to the screen pass last season as backup running back Jacquizz Rodgers ranked fourth on the team with 53 catches.

Koetter's offense looked like a good fit when Jackson considered his options as a free agent.

``This team was pretty dynamic when it came to throwing screens, taking advantage of the defense being overly aggressive,'' Jackson said Monday. ``We have a number of playmakers on this team, wherever I can fit in on the package, whether it's being a decoy or catching the screen making something happen down the field.''

The Falcons' running backs may have been too predictable in 2012. Rodgers had more yards receiving than rushing, so defenses could adjust when he replaced Turner. Meanwhile, the bullish Turner's 19 catches set a career high but were not enough to earn respect as a receiver.

Jackson, who celebrated his 30th birthday last week, remains dangerous as a runner and receiver. The challenge for opposing defenses becomes more complicated.

``He will allow us to keep the same personnel, and not have to necessarily put a change-of-pace back in,'' said Falcons coach Mike Smith.

Jackson, who began his career with the Rams in 2004, has 407 career catches. According to STATS LLC, that's the most of any running back in that period - more than Brian Westbrook, LaDainian Tomlinson and Reggie Bush.

``I've always taken pride in being a franchise back, and to do that you have to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield, as well as protect the quarterback,'' Jackson said. ``And I've just worked on that throughout the years.''

Jackson set the Rams record with 10,135 yards rushing.

Smith said some of the strengths that make Jackson an effective runner also help him have success catching passes.

``He's got very good hands and very good vision,'' Smith said. ``Usually, a running back has to have good vision because it's check-down routes. It's the last read in most cases, and the integrity of the play is about to break down, and he has a good feel for it. I think that's why he's such a good runner as well. He has excellent vision.''

Jackson said he didn't come to Atlanta just to post more big numbers as a runner and receiver. He appeared in only two playoff games with the Rams - both coming in his rookie season. He said he is looking for his best chance to play in the Super Bowl.

``Football is the ultimate team sport, and after so long of being through so many tough years there, and not even being able to compete in the postseason, it takes a toll on you,'' Jackson said. ``The way the game is evolving, it's going to more of a passing league, and I know realistically my chances to win the Super Bowl are numbered.

``Atlanta presents a great opportunity for me to take advantage of.''

Jackson said he's not worried about a decline in production at 30. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry last season, close to his career average of 4.2.

``I don't worry about it all,'' he said. ``... I think each and every generation has a guy that breaks the mold, and I truly believe that I'm that running back for this generation.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Fred JacksonOct 6 01:22p

Seattle Seahawks RB Fred Jackson (ankle) is dealing with a high ankle sprain, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Eric EbronOct 6 12:32p

Updating an earlier report, Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron (knee) had an MRI reveal no structural damage in his left knee. His status is to be determined for Week 5.

Markus WheatonOct 6 12:22p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton (ankle) looks dramatically improved from his ankle injury and has a good chance to play in Week 5 against the San Diego Chargers.

Eric EbronOct 6 11:52a

Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron (knee) had X-rays on his left knee, which were negative. He'll have an MRI as well.

Connor BarthOct 6 10:43a

Free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, Oct. 6, as he beat out other kickers to replace PK Kyle Brindza. Brindza was released.

Caleb SturgisOct 6 10:22a

Philadelphia Eagles PK Caleb Sturgis won't be replaced after missing a field goal and an extra point in Week 4, according to head coach Chip Kelly. 'We're going to [ More ]

Steve SmithOct 6 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith (back) is day to day and hasn't been ruled out for Week 5, according to WR Kamar Aiken.

Karlos WilliamsOct 6 09:02a

Buffalo Bills RB Karlos Williams (concussion) sustained a concussion in Week 4, and his status is uncertain against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5.

Zach HockerOct 6 08:33a

New Orleans Saints PK Zach Hocker could be in danger of losing his job as the Saints are trying out kickers Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Russell WilsonOct 6 01:22a

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson completed 20 of his 26 pass attempts for 287 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the Week 4 game against the Detroit Lions [ More ]

Thomas RawlsOct 6 01:22a

Seattle Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls saw a lion's share of the carries against the Detroit Lions in Week 4 Monday, Oct. 5, running for 48 yards on 17 carries [ More ]

Matthew StaffordOct 6 12:42a

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 203 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the Week 4 game Monday, Oct. 5, against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ameer AbdullahOct 6 12:42a

Detroit Lions RB Ameer Abdullah carried 13 times for just 33 yards in the Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks Monday, Oct. 5, and he added two receptions [ More ]

Calvin JohnsonOct 6 12:42a

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson had seven receptions for 56 yards in the Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks, but he was also credited with a lost fumble [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 5 09:22p

Updating a previous report, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) could be on target to play in the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Oct. 8, as [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 5 07:52p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is 'trending in the right direction' to return against the Houston Texans in Week 5 Thursday, Oct. 8, after taking part in the [ More ]

Marshawn LynchOct 5 07:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) was able to run during pregame warmups Monday, Oct. 5, and appears to have a good chance to play in the Week 5 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Alec OgletreeOct 5 07:02p

Updating a previous report, St. Louis Rams LB Alec Ogletree (ankle) suffered a fracture ankle during the team's Week 4 game. He is scheduled to undergo surgery and may [ More ]

Sean LeeOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (concussion) is feeling better but will have to pass all of his concussion tests before he is cleared to play again, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

Lance DunbarOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar (knee) will miss the rest of the 2015 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Week 4. He scheduled [ More ]

Ronnie BrownOct 5 05:32p

Free-agent RB Ronnie Brown (Chargers) re-signed with the San Diego Chargers Monday, Oct. 5, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andrew LuckOct 5 05:12p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected to play in the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Oct. 8. Luck has a slightly separated throwing shoulder [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 5 04:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins' (calf) status for the Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans is uncertain at this point, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'He looked [ More ]

Jordan ReedOct 5 04:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed's (concussion, knee, ankle) head injury is a real concern, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Reed has a long history of head injuries dating [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 04:42p

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (ankle) was placed on the season-ending Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 5, due to a staph infection in his ankle. TE Will Tye was [ More ]

Antonio GatesOct 5 04:22p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates is in great shape and will be play in the Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to head coach Mike McCoy.

Ryan MallettOct 5 02:42p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett will be the starting quarterback for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts Thursday, Oct. 8, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.

Christine MichaelOct 5 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Christine Michael will have a role in the offense, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones, with RB Lance Dunbar (knee) possibly out for the rest [ More ]

Dez BryantOct 5 02:32p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) could return after the Cowboys' Week 6 bye, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Bryant recently had a positive examination of the [ More ]

Cecil Shorts IIIOct 5 02:12p

Houston Texans WR Cecil Shorts (shoulder) is considered doubtful for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts because of the dislocated shoulder he suffered in Week 4.

Alec OgletreeOct 5 02:12p

St. Louis Rams LB Alec Ogletree (ankle) will need surgery on his ankle, according to head coach Jeff Fisher. Ogletree is a candidate to be placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list.

Dan CampbellOct 5 01:52p

Miami Dolphins tight ends coach Dan Campbell was named the team's interim head coach Monday, Oct. 5.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group