ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Jacquizz Rodgers #22 of the Atlanta Falcons scores a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
It's not even an open secret that Mike Smith loves him some Jacquizz Rodgers, because that would imply that there was some effort to conceal that fact.
Let's say it: Smith is Jacquizz's biggest fan. He believes in the young running back. He's a fan of his pass protection. He's a fan of his power and speed. He's a fan of him to the point where he's willing to call him a potential three-down back. This on a team with Michael Turner and a fan base that is, to put it mildly, a little skeptical of that claim.
Pat Yasinskas at ESPN did a nice job of breaking down Smith's most recent comments on Rodgers and why there's reason to believe he's in line for a larger role in 2012.
"Jacquizz is not little,’’ Smith said. "He’s short, but he’s thick. People projected him to be a third-down back, a change-of-pace back. I think the guy has the skill set to play on all three downs. One of the things that stood out to me more than anything is his ability to pass protect. A lot of times, your change-of-pace back, you’ve got to get him the ball and not ask him to be a part of the protection. I don’t think that’s the case with Jacquizz. I think Jacquizz is an all-around back that can play on all three downs.’’
Frankly, if his pass protection is as good as advertised, there's no reason to believe the Falcons won't use him and that he won't be considered for a larger workload if Turner goes down or leaves after this season. We already know he can catch passes and tote the rock, albeit not incredibly impressively.
But if you want to get in a knife fight with Smitty, that's your call. What's your impression of Jacquizz?