If you've seen me in the threads or on Twitter, you know that for all my trepidation about sinking a three-year deal into a 30-year-old back, I think Steven Jackson fits the offense perfectly. Why would I go and say a crazy thing like that?
Because of what S-Jax brings to the table. Let's do a quick comparison of Jackson's 2012 numbers versus Michael Turner's. Let me stress, given the nature of comparison I'm about to make, how much I respect Turner and appreciate what he did for the Falcons franchise.
Michael Turner: 222 carries, 800 yards, 3.6 YPC, 10 TDs
Steven Jackson: 257 carries, 1,042 yards, 4.1 YPC, 4 TDs
The only area in which Turner has an advantage is touchdowns, and he had far more opportunities than Jackson. S-Jax was the superior short-yardage and goal-line back in 2012, if we're talking about efficiency.
Okay, you say, Jackson was a better runner last year, which can only help the Falcons. But what makes Jackson so much better for this offense? To illuminate that, we have to look at their basic pass-catching stats.
Turner: 19 catches, 167 yards, 6.7 yards per reception, 1 TD
Jackson: 38 catches, 321 yards, 8.4 yards per reception. 0 TDs
This is where Jackson slots in so perfectly. He's a dual threat, a guy with sure hands who can catch the ball out of the backfield and romp through defenders. To put this in its proper perspective, Jackson has more receptions in the last two seasons than Turner has in his career. He has more receptions over the last two years than Harry Douglas. Dude can catch just fine.
Add in his above average skills as a blocker, and you begin to understand why Jackson is such an attractive piece for these Falcons. Health and aging are concerns—particularly after 2013, I'd say—but defenses have to respect Jackson as a pass-catcher and a runner at all times. This gives the Falcons more versatility and makes them less predictable in short-yardage situations, their frequent foil in 2012. Pair that with an already effective passing attack and you've got a recipe for an even more explosive offense.
We can't expect Jackson to solve all the issues we had with Turner a year ago—and the tread on those tires will never quite stop being alarming—but the Falcons' interest makes perfect sense.
Your thoughts on Jackson's fit?