Don't anticipate any controversy in the Falcons' backfield with the recent signing of Steven Jackson. Although Jackson's had a stellar nine-year career, he joins the Falcons on a three-year deal and he's not asked to carry the team as he had done for nearly a decade in St. Louis.
What Jackson is here to do is continue to carry the ball 4 yards per touch, as he's averaged over the course of his career. He'll do some blocking, something he excels at, and he'll catch some passes out of the backfield. His skill set isn't entirely different from third-year running back Jacquizz Rodgers, although Jackson is a little bigger and perhaps more physical than Rodgers, but the two have a lot more in common than just their style.
Both running backs attended Oregon State and though their careers were years apart, Jackson has kept up with the younger Oregon State Beaver. At Friday's introductory press conference, Jackson said he's known Rodgers since he was a teenager and he's proud of what the Falcons running back has done in his short time in the league.
During Atlanta's playoff win over the Seahawks, Rodgers gave Jackson something to cheer about. During a first-quarter run, Rodgers rumbled 45 yards, 35 of those yards after contact, and ran over Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. It was a big and bruising run, the kind of run Jackson himself has become known for. When watching the game, Jackson said Rodgers' run made him stand up and cheer.
Arriving in Atlanta, Jackson will be asked to share the backfield with Rodgers and Jackson isn't worried about the time share or the relationship the two will have.
"That won't be a problem at all," Jackson said of Rodgers. "He's someone that I've had a chance to watch for a long time and seeing what he's done on his own here in Atlanta, it's special. I just want to help like I've done with other guys. I won't force it, but if he comes to me with questions and I have the answer, I will help him."
Jackson and Rodgers' stats from last season combined equal to 442 touches for 2,127 yards, an average of 4.8 yards per touch. The combination of Jackson and Rodgers in Atlanta's backfield for 2013 means two backs with the ability to do damage in a variety of ways. Opponents will have to account for both backs and their ability to run and catch and Atlanta's Pick-Your-Poison offense will become even more multi-dimensional as they look to make another Super Bowl run.