Steven Jackson, the only active running back to boast over 10,000 career rushing yards, is changing locations for the first time in his career. Ian Rapoport is reporting for NFL.com that the nine-year veteran has signed a three-year contract to join the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons released running back Michael Turner earlier this offseason, likely due to a combination of high salary cap value and diminishing production on the field. Though Jackson is aging in terms of the average lifespan of an NFL running back, he will have one advantage in Atlanta that he did not in St. Louis: a potent passing game that draws the safeties out of the box.
Steven Jackson was the Rams’ first round pick in 2004—the year future Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner was released by the team. The Rams team that Jackson inherited was a far cry from the one that went to two Super Bowls with Warner under center.
Nonetheless, even though Jackson has been the centerpiece of the Rams’ offense for the past eight seasons, he has totaled over 1000 yards in each. That included 2007 and 2008, when he missed four games in each season.
Jackson’s best season came in 2006 when he rushed for a career-high 1528 yards on 4.4 yards per carry and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 90 passes for 806 yards and scored another three touchdowns.
Now in Atlanta, Jackson will serve as part of a complementary running game as the aerial assault takes center stage. With quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones, and tight end Tony Gonzalez, the Falcons have one of the more explosive passing games in the league.
Because of this, attention should be drawn away from Jackson in ways that he has never had the luxury of experiencing throughout his career, which should translate to success in Atlanta’s offense.
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