When the Falcons made the move from Michael Turner to Steven Jackson at running back, one of the obvious upsides for the offense was Jackson’s ability to make plays as a receiver that weren’t in Turner’s skill set.
The Falcons appear to be willing to get creative to make as much use of that ability as they can. Daniel Cox of the team’s website reports that the Falcons have been lining Jackson up all over the line of scrimmage during practices, something that Jackson thinks is designed to get him into one-on-one situations with linebackers as much as possible so Matt Ryan can find him in the passing game. It’s a familiar feeling for Jackson, albeit one he hasn’t felt in a while.
“It reminds me of my younger years in St. Louis when I was used more as a receiver out of the backfield,” Jackson said. “It allows me to use more tools in the shed that I have and possess. It allows me to work on things I haven’t done in a number of years.”
With Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez on the field to threaten defenses, the Falcons would be tough to stop even if Jackson were lining up in the backfield on every snap. Putting him all over the place has the potential to stretch defenses beyond their breaking point, however, and it will be interesting to see which poison defenses pick on Sundays this year.