Some believe the entrance of Steven Jackson into Atlanta's offense this year will produce major changes. On Tuesday during this week's minicamp, Jackson said not much will change for him.
The Falcons established themselves as a pass-first offense last season and although Jackson is a talented running back, the offense won't revert back to an offense where one back is getting north of 30 carries a game. What Jackson does bring to the Falcons is a talented receiver out of the backfield. The back's dual-threat ability makes the offense that much more difficult to scheme against because it can go any direction they want with the ball with much of the same personnel on the field.
Jackson said what he will be doing in Atlanta isn't that much different from what he's been offering his former team, the Rams, for the last few seasons.
"It's not so much my role changing," Jackson said. "I think (offensive coordinator) coach (Dirk) Koetter's going to allow me to still be a downhill runner, allow me to catch the ball out of the backfield and, most importantly, protect (quarterback) Matt (Ryan). "
Last season the Falcons didn't have one lone running back rush 25 or more times in a game. Jackson himself only had 25 carries in one game last year and averaged 16 carries per game over the course of the year. In 2011, Jackson had three games with 25 or more carries. This season, with a new team, Jackson sees an offense with the weapons to make every down count and thinks his touches will be valuable to the offense.
"I think this offense just has so many weapons that I'm going to get quality carries," Jackson said. "I'm going to have opportunities that may not be 25 carries a game, but it'll be quality touches and allow me to close out a game."
While Jackson may not get 25 carries a game, there's a possibility he could get close to that number in overall touches. His ability to catch and run in an offense like Atlanta's could make him a valuable asset in games (as well as fantasy games).
Although he's adjusting to the new terminology in the offense here in Atlanta, he's already embraced the pick-your-poison offensive mentality led by Ryan and the offense.
"Defenses are really going to have to choose what they want to try to take away from us," Jackson said. "Whatever they decide, I think we have the personnel and the weaponry to exploit what they're going to give us."