The blogosphere is currently abuzz with the debate over Jacquizz Rodger’s potential as a running back in the NFL. The reality is, we really don’t have much to go on given the facts that he didn’t have enough carries last year, the horribly predictable Mike Mularkey called most of his plays, and he didn’t have an appropriate offseason due to the lockout. After the 2012 season, we should have a much better idea of his potential. One thing I know for certain right now is that he is a special running back with high entertainment value. A running back like that deserves a special nickname.
“The Ankle Breaker” is the perfect nickname for our newly beloved Jacquizz. The term “ankle breaker” is a darkly comical way to refer to when a basketball player feints, jukes, or crossover dribbles so well that the defender ends up on the floor. Jaquizz did this on the field several times for Oregon State (minus the dribbling), and he showed that he could also bring a pro defender “down to turf”. In this classic highlight, he appears to use a move or two to make the first Jaguar defender miss. However, upon closer examination in slow motion, he actually uses about eight separate mini-moves in the course of about one second, and all the defender can muster is a weak one-arm tackle attempt as he flails to the ground.
“The Ankle Breaker” also sounds like a cheesy pro wrestling name. Jacquizz deserves a pro wrestling nickname because he is such a physical specimen. His abdominal muscles look like he arranged eight bricks on a flat stomach and pulled a thin sheet of skin over them. His biceps and shoulders are each nearly as large as his head (minus the hair, of course). Last but not least, his massive glutes are not round when he flexes them to make a cut on the field, but built of right angles.
The fact that he runs so low to the ground and could literally break a defender’s ankle makes the nickname even more appropriate. At under 5’6” (Combine measurement), he and New Orleans’ Darren Sproles are essentially tied for the distinction of being the shortest running back in the NFL. However, Jacquizz is perhaps the shortest man the NFL has ever seen when he carries the ball in traffic. Rodgers likely stands about three feet off the ground when he does one of his deep knee-bends, or spreads his legs, or even leans forward or sideways at sub forty-five degree angles. His freakish strength makes him unique in this ability. Defensive linemen have always been sensitive to contact to their lower legs (John Abraham tore a rookie teammate’s helmet off and verbally abused him in response to a low block during minicamp), and rightfully so because it could result in a season-ending injury. Jacquizz’s extremely low ball-carrying profile combined with his incredible power could make defensive linemen a bit tentative when they see “The Ankle Breaker” line up behind Matt Ryan. If given the opportunity to pick their poison, some may even prefer to see Michael Turner in the backfield.
Jacquizz will be very fun to watch this year. We should repay him by giving him one of the greatest NFL nicknames of all time. When he jukes a defender out of his socks, we can say, “Ooh – Victimized by ‘The Ankle Breaker’”. When he rockets head first into the shins of the Saints defensive line, we can coyly say, “Aw Ankle Breaker – You shouldn’t have!” And when he carries the ball but you can’t see it because it is totally concealed beneath his massive arms, we can say, “He’s a mini-beast – That’s why we call him ‘The Ankle Breaker’”. Here’s to a breakout season for Rodgers, and to making the nickname stick!