Last season, the Falcons found solid contributions from their running backs and the two leading the way, Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers, combined for 1,162 rushing yards on 316 carries and 10 touchdowns. The Falcons offense also got help from the two in the passing game as they combined for 72 receptions, 530 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
The Falcons were one of just four teams with two running backs with more than 750 yards from scrimmage. Although Turner has moved on, Rodgers returns for 2013 looking to improve on his 362 yards rushing and 402 yards receiving. Having newcomer Steven Jackson in the backfield should not only help Rodgers, but help the offense overall since both backs are interchangeable with their threats.
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Jackson's prowess in the passing game has generated plenty of talk and for good reason. In his ninth season with the Rams, Jackson gained 1,042 yards on the ground and 321 yards through the air. Jackson recently said his move from St. Louis to Atlanta won't change his role in an offense too much.
Rodgers finished the year with 762 total yards from scrimmage on 147 touches, averaging 5.2 yards per touch. Jackson's total from last season is extremely impressive, totaling 1,363 yards from scrimmage. Jackson averaged 4.6 yards per touch last season.
If both running backs' numbers from last season were combined and placed into Atlanta's offense, the output would be tremendous: 2,125 yards from scrimmage from two backs, averaging 4.8 yards per touch.
Atlanta's offense with those two players performing at that level would have given them one of the top running back duos on the ground and in the air in the league. The other teams with two backs in the category of what the Falcons accomplished last season were the Lions (Mikel Leshoure/Joique Bell), the Saints (Darren Sproles/Pierre Thomas) and the Raiders (Darren McFadden/Marcel Reece).