We knew Steven Jackson would be moving on from the Rams after spending his entire nine-year career in St. Louis. The destination remained unclear until Thursday when the the soon-to-be 30-year-old running back agreed to a 3-year, $12 million contract with the NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons.
Jackson played all 16 games last season, finishing with 1,042 yards while averaging 4.1 yards per carry and scoring four touchdowns. The three-time Pro Bowl selection also hauled in 38 receptions for 321 yards.
The Falcons were in the mix for a starting runner after recently releasing veteran Michael Turner. The Packers were also reportedly in the mix for Jackson's services.
We now may finally see what the powerful back can do on a winning team - and in a potent offense. The Falcons aerial show with Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez shined all season and almost put the team in the Super Bowl - and did so with an anemic ground game compliment. Behind Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers , Atlanta ranked 29th in the NFL.
Though his yards per carry average dropped under four this past season, Turner still found the end zone 10 times, the fifth straight season he tallied double-figure touchdowns. Meanwhile playing for the Rams, Jackson only once scored more than 10 rushing touchdowns and that was way back in 2006. That decrepncy is more about the respective offenses than the runners themslves as the Falcons simply visited the Red Zone far more often the Rams.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Jackson has been a consistent top RB2 option at the very least in recent seasons even though the Rams never won more than eight games during his era. Now the dreadlocked one's upside is significantly higher playing for a team that actually keeps scoreboard operators busy. Also note Jackson has missed only two games over the last four seasons.
As for Rodgers, expect his role to remain the same, which means 5-8 touches a game. Jackson's presence also means Quizz loses his sleeper appeal, assuming he had much left after a rather eh of a 2012 campaign. Bottom line, he couldn't beat out Turner no matter how slow he ran. Consider Rodgers a handcuff.
Jackson has siginificantly more gas in the tank, certainly more than the plodding Turner. than Turner. And yes, the passing game leads the way. Also true, the Falcons offensive line is good, but hardly great.
Still, last season Turner finished in the lower teens among fantasy runners, just above Jackson. One played for in a stellar offense. The other was Jackson.
That is why the move from St. Louis to Atlanta moves Jackson from an RB2 to a borderline top-10 play. Get excited people. We can assume Jackson is.