Sorry, "report" is kind of a strong word here. National Football Post released a pseudo-report, reading the tea-leaves speculation article, with plenty of qualifying words like "seems" and "keen" that mean basically anything can happen. The length of this pseudo-report helps cover up that it is mostly speculation, if not entirely a waste of my time. Have a read.
And unless the Falcons unearth a back in the draft – it’s highly unlikely they would sign one again as a free agent – Jackson might be the most optimum fit. He might not be in his prime anymore, and, despite all the excuses, that seemed evident in 2013. But it also seems the Falcons, as they prepare for another likely round of paring notable veterans, are keen on bringing Jackson back for another season in 2014. And ready to see if 2013 was the aberration for him the team’s brass suggests it was for the rest of the organization.
It seems weird that I have written so many negative articles on Jackson. He has been a huge disappointment for me this year. He dealt with a prolonged injury, which is alarming because in previous seasons he seems to always be bothered by soft-tissue injuries. Jackson is finally healthy and looking like a good running back, but has had so many infuriating drops on easy passes that I fail to see the upside with keeping him. At this point in his career, he is just a guy. Not a liability but far from a strength we need in the run game.
As noted in the article, both head coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter supported Jackson this week. This seems like "coach speak" to me. I would bet the coaches will support every player still playing on our team, even those guys who will be cut right after the season. Such as, "Thomas DeCoud gives us the best chance of winning." It doesn't really mean anything and the coaching staff has lots of praise for a team that has struggled to do just about everything.
The pseudo-article also points out that we don't have any real other options at running back for a volume back and that Jackson is theoretically a great fit in our offense. Jackson's salary isn't terrible and for whatever reason, Atlanta isn't expected to pick up a back in free agency. Well, yeah. We are in this situation because we have a number of role players and have drafted only a single running back since Thomas Dimitroff got here. We just found out we cannot get an elite, volume player for cheap in free agency.
So, basically, assuming Atlanta doesn't draft a running back, the Falcons aren't against keeping Steven Jackson, probably. Thanks National Football Post. Now I understand why no one wanted to put their name on this article.
In my opinion, Atlanta could be well served by going to a committee system that other teams use when they lack talent at the position. Plug in a mid to late draft pick, see what else we have on the roster and maybe give Jackson 15 touches per game would give us a bit more flexibility in the run game. Relying solely on Steven Jackson for another year to remain both healthy and effective is a recipe for disaster.