ESPN's Pat Yasinskas seems to think so. In an article today, he declared Jacquizz Rodgers his pick for the breakout slash most improved player in the division for 2012. Given the young talent in the NFC South, this is a fairly bold stroke.
Jacquizz was decently productive in 2011, amassing 205 yards on 57 carries and grabbing 21 passes for 188 yards. I saw flashes of an agile back with surprising power for his size, and I also saw a guy who could definitely catch the ball. Given that Dirk Koetter is said to like the screen game and got Maurice Jones-Drew very involved in the passing game during his time in Jacksonville, that would seem to bode well.
But what really convinces Pat Y. is the combination of Mike Smith showing rare excitement about a player and his stated desire to limit Michael Turner's carries, though I'm half convinced the Burner will wind up with 500 of 'em somehow:
"Jacquizz figures into that quite a bit,’’ Smith said. "We drafted him to be a change-of-pace back and we found out very quickly that he’s a guy that is more than a change-of-pace back. Even though he’s short, he’s not little. He’s a guy we feel like we can integrate more into our offense.’’
So let's recap. A new coordinator who will want to use Jacquizz Rodgers for his pass-catching, a head coach who believes in his talent, a year in the system and an opportunity for him to seize a larger role as a runner. That sounds like a recipe to success for me.
What kind of line do you think Jacquizz will put up in his second season?