The signing of Steven Jackson had an effect in the backfield that puzzles some fans; and some players.
Last season, Jacquizz Rodgers had a role on the team that was very well known. He was a change-of-pace “scat” back. He was faster and more maneuverable than Michael Turner, who was stout and powerful. We did observe, however, that Quizz wasn’t just speedy he was also very powerful. Not to mention his ability catching the pass.
Over the offseason, Michael Turner was released and Steven Jackson was signed. Unlike Turner, Jackson was a three-down back. He could get the job done regardless the situation. He is fast enough to hit the holes and outrun defenders if needed, he is powerful enough to knock a linebacker on his back cushion, he can get the 1 yard touchdown, or turn a 2nd and long into a 3rd and short, and even catch the play action pass or any pass for that matter. Here’s the thing though: So can Jacquizz Rodgers.
I’ve made the comparison before; Rodgers is a miniature version of Steven Jackson. He has all the explosiveness, versatility, and power, compact into a 5’6 frame. His skill sets are identical with Jackson. So here’s the ‘quizz:’ (see what I did there?) Why would Mike Smith sign a guy in the offseason that is just a bigger, more successful Rodgers?
Success and experience is the key. Rodgers shined bright next to Turner. He had all the keys to being an every-down back. Hell, even Mike Smith said so. For two years, let him learn under Steven Jackson. After Jackson retires, Rodgers will step in as the full time back. He would be like Steven Jackson II, but the Falcons could have him for several years to come.
Rodgers will not disappear for the next two years though. Keep in mind that Jackson is 30 now and Mike Smith does everything he can to keep his guys healthy. Considering that Rodgers and Jackson have the same capabilities, there is no telling what a defense is in for no matter which of them is on the field. Rodgers will probably get about 1/4th of all the carries and statistically look very similar.
The only thing I get worried about when this topic comes up is whether or not Jacquizz Rodgers sees it the same way I do. The league knows his capability and he might end up somewhere else before he becomes the number one guy in Atlanta.
What do you guys think?