Steven Jackson was far less effective than Falcons expected

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There weren’t enough of these moments by Steven Jackson.

The Falcons signed Steven Jackson in 2013, believing he was one of the players who would help them get to a Super Bowl. Nobody believed that more than the running back himself, who told me before this past season,“When I came here last year, I kind of believed my own hype. The team was so close to going to the Super Bowl, and I thought I was going to be the missing link. Then reality slaps you.”

Jackson’s arrival was trumpeted with a news conference. His exit came in a brief press release Thursday night.

Jackson will be one of several veterans from the last two seasons, when the Falcons went 10-22, who won’t be retained. As I wrote recently, the Falcons went only 4-12 and 6-10 in the last two seasons, despite spending $279.3 million in salary. That equated to the least productive payroll in the NFL. Jackson collected $8.25 million of his three-year, $12 million contract, but rushed for only 1,250 yards, 3.6 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns in 27 games.

Granted, Jackson was 29 when the Falcons signed him, often a tipping point age for running backs. But he was coming off eight straight 1,000-plus-yard rushing seasons in St. Louis and averaged 40-plus receptions with the Rams. So at the time of the signing, it looked like a good move.

It’s possible if Jackson had stayed healthy and the team had a better offensive line, he would have been far more productive. But instead, his tenure with the team has to be viewed as an abject failure, much like the signing of defensive end Osi Umeniyiora (who will be an unrestricted free agent and likely won’t be re-signed).

New coach Dan Quinn wants his team to have more speed. Expect the Falcons’ moves to reflect that. Guard Justin Blalock had back problems last season and is scheduled to have the team’s third highest salary cap figure in 2015 ($7.91 million). He also could either be among cuts or have his deal restructured.

Also expect the Falcons to make a move for a running back, either in free agency or the draft.

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Reader Comments 0

57 comments
atlppal
atlppal

FALCANTS!!!! WHO CARES!!!! LOSERS!!... PERIOD.

Peachs
Peachs

I think the short yardage stops two years ago particularly against New Orleans showed the Falcons ineptness to play power football even on the best of days. We lost to NY the same way in the playoff.It takes a creative mind to coach offense and a realist to know what you can’t do even if the book and like minds think you can. I honestly think Arthur on the side lines makes the coaching staff nervous, because he has that in him. We lost so many games in the last minutes going brain dead.

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

So Jackson had eight straight 1000+ yard seasons with the Rams but based on some of the comments all of a sudden had no vision and couldn't run with the Falcons?  Didn't he suffer an injury in 2013?  Didn't the Falcons OL pretty much underachieve?

The Falcons as a team sucked, Jackson was just a part of that...



Sagacious
Sagacious

They never should have hired him!  Nice guy, but he is over the hill.

RockTrimlove
RockTrimlove

GM's will follow the Steven Jackson Rule going forward. Don't sign a guy who has 2,400 carries in his pro career to be your feature back. Regardless of his age.


AtyAbh
AtyAbh

As noted, the O line didn't help him, but he also didn't help himself by not being evasive or able to run to open holes. His startup took too long, kind of Fred Flintstone-ish, whereas his feet seemed to move before his body caught up. The big moment that more or less marks his career is the dropped TD pass at New Orleans. We win that game, and we would have if he had caught the ball which hit him in his hands, we might have had a playoff season as momentum would have been on our side. That game was a psyche-breaker and the season went downhill from there. Good guy and bringing him here seemed plausible at the time.

Grimone
Grimone

As many have pointed out, he constantly ran into the backs of his blockers, usually right at the line.  I don't know if it was his lack of evasiveness, the coaches' schemes, or bad lineman.  Barry Sanders always managed to get away no matter how bad his line was.

GaLatino
GaLatino

You know why they cut Steven Jackson?  Cuz they never should have signed him in the first place.

odelljones
odelljones

He had no peripheral vision. I watched many games where there was a hole to the outside but he would just blast in to the back of an offensive lineman because that is where the hole was supposed to be. Plus the fact he didn't have the speed to make the cut....

krharrison
krharrison

Really liked Steven Jackson, I thought he was a great guy, but glad we cut him.  I hope this gives Davonta Freeman a chance to shine, he looked great when he actually got to play.

bufordpurvis
bufordpurvis

Barry Sanders would have had trouble behind that beat up O Line. 


Still the right move. Jackson is on the wrong side of 30 now. There are some decent choices in the draft. Get them cheap in the 3rd to 5th round.

syrupmaker
syrupmaker

Can someone please tell me why Kroy Biermann was on the field more than Osi.  Much of the problems on defense had more to do with Mike Smith and Mike Nolan than anything.  Glad to see "Dumb and Dumber" leave town.  They were both stubborn and AWFUL!!

syrupmaker
syrupmaker

Until this team gets serious about fixing this offensive line, no running back will have consistent success.  Until we fix this offensive line, Matt Ryan will never reach his full potential.  Stop trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear with the Joe Hawley's, Gabe Carimi's, Lamar Holmes', Mike Johnson's, and Peter Konz's of the world.  Go find some real talent via the draft and free agency.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@syrupmaker When bad boys Harvey Dahl & Clabo), along with the older C were let go, it seemed to me the OL went down hill? Got to have really tough guys on the OL! For example, when your QB gets knocked down, somebody on the other side has to pay on the next play! Am I off base with my opinion?

peanutgallery
peanutgallery

I don't see how you can blame TD for signing Jackson. He was paid a relatively modest salary and had a long record of success with the Rams. Not every draft pick or FA signing is going to work out.


Now Ray Edwards, Osi, and the lack of an offensive/defensive line.... Yeah that's all on TD.



Wilbo
Wilbo

@peanutgallery Peanut, you don't sign 30 yr old running backs, and if you do you never, ever, ever sign 30 yr old running backs as Plan A.


Anybody who thinks a nearly 3 decade old running back is going to be the key to taking a team to the Superbowl is too stupid to be orchestrating personnel moves for a professional football team.


Way too stupid.

OH_IO
OH_IO

Good guy, bad hire

jpfromtheA
jpfromtheA

I'm NOOOOO Jackson fan at all, please trust me on that!  Being as objective as possible, I really don't think you can go from having THAT many 1K rushing yards seasons to a 700 yard season unless something else is fundamentally wrong with the team!  Be it the personnel on the O Line, the coaching or the play calling!  I don't think Emmitt Smith could have could have gained 1K yards coming out of this backfield! 

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

1200 yds is the benchmark of a nice yr for a RB this day in time -- has been since the 78 season when they expended the schedule to 16 games


Of course you have to look how a guy catches the ball out of the backfield and blocks too -- and Jackson was good at catching the ball out of the backfield

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Why the sarcasim from some of you  - this was not a bad piece -- good work Jeff

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Peter Konz and Lamar Holmes should be the next to go


Too bad they cannot cut Sam the faker Baker --- worse draft pick in the Dimitroff era he was a bust and they kept that BOMB around

Big Wally
Big Wally

This city has only had 1 decent GM in any of it's professional teams the last 10 years.  Unfortunately he works for the idiots of the Atlanta Spirit Group and is on leave of absense - that's Atlanta for you.

Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

More genius writing from the AJC staff. Thanks for filling us in as this was a huge surprise to me.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Dimitroff has made his mistakes but he has been no worse than that dummy Ken Herock back in the day when he was teamed with the incompetent foolhardy Jerry Glanville. 


Then they made it worse with the more incompetent June Jones


We have had it worse in Falcons history



FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

It made sense at the time -- but Jackson was more done than we all thought


Sort of like the Dan Uggla and Nate Mc Louth trades -- looked great at the time but they fell off the map even more abruptly than Jackson did


Now we need a real young every down back -- we had one in a young Mike Turner and Matt Ryan was helped by him. 

TraLoLo
TraLoLo

Bout Time!!! I agree, he ran right into the blockers everytime. Paid all this money and no results. Now! Time to get this team right dang it!!

UncleLeo
UncleLeo

I will not read the article. It is obvious why the club cut him. Not wasting precious life reading what we all witnessed.

DarianFisher
DarianFisher

Every time I watched him get handed the ball, it would seem like he purposely ran right into the middle of all the blockers.  He rarely ever cut or did anything of productive value.  Good riddance.

OH_IO
OH_IO

@DarianFisher


Ya, he always did a juke step when he first got the ball that took time and gave the D more time to stuff him. 

Gov-waste
Gov-waste

Dimitroff is a genius, cant pick a winner in a 1 horse race. But Artie thinks he has potential. Ride the bike back to New England.

Jupiter_Jim
Jupiter_Jim

Yes, SJ39 is done, but the O-line is partly to blame.  I'm not sure any RB can break 1,000 yards behind this group.  Jackson has had a very good career.  Don't ridicule him because he couldn't thrive behind this bunch.

turftoe
turftoe

@PalmBeachFalcon  That may be true,but he never made the postseason in his whole career with the Rams eather.

JSSN
JSSN

@turftoe

"That may be true,but he never made the postseason in his whole career with the Rams eather."

Jackson played in two playoff games for the Rams in 2004.

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

The Falcons got exactly what was expected from Jackson -- the performance of an over-the-hill, worn out, running back who the Rams couldn't wait to get rid of.  Jackson was reasonably just trying to soak up one last big contract. Anyone who didn't see this coming was delusional. 

thedobber
thedobber

Steven Jackson turned out to be a disappointment. Wow.  What an insightful column. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

@thedobber If you were expecting an insightful column out of these 2 moronic dweebs, you are more unrealistic than the fools expecting a 30 yr old running back to take this weak unbalanced team to the Superbowl.

Furrdaddy
Furrdaddy

Craytown


When ya head back to Jersey.....grab a couple of fellow Yankees under each arm and take them with you.

GT71
GT71

In the days of the small, quick, bowling-ball back the Falcons paid good $$$ for a hulking dinosaur.  Top to bottom, the dumbest management/owner in the league.

After keeping season tix since 1966, we quit the seats and the Falcons 5 years ago:  we haven't looked back.

Over-priced tix, over-paid players, bad, greasy, expensive food, badly located stadium, idiotic management, bad player acquisition decisions - a waste of a good Fall Sunday afternoon.


rockinreel
rockinreel

@GT71 Anything else make you miserable?  Wait, everything does.  SMH

patriotdog
patriotdog

Craytown, i hear ya, bro. Head back anytime, yall northern aggressive types can't drive.

1000 yard seasons are a yardstick from the 70's. In a 16 game season, you only average 62 yds per game to have 1000 yards, hardly a great accomplishment for a pro running back.

atlfanman
atlfanman

Hope they restructure Blalock's contract. Peter Konz is not the worth the bother.

he_of_stinky_wind
he_of_stinky_wind

Jackson ran standing skrait up.  Like a girl.  He couldn't break a my tackle.  I would wrap my big legs around him and he would not get free.