Some young players have earned playing time through their excellent play that outperformed the starting veteran. Say, Paul Worrilow starting over Akeem Dent. Worrilow outplayed Dent who has always struggled on defense.
Recently we have seen Asante Samuel and Osi Umenyiora losing snaps to players who aren't terrible. What about the run game? We all wanted to see Antone Smith get more reps. He made some explosive plays running the ball. Mike Smith said they would make it a priority to get Smith more touches. Smith somehow got less touches then got hurt.
We still have another running back waiting in the wings while Steven Jackson is having trouble calling his grandchildren from his Jitterbug phone. This is not a negative article about Jackson and I'm not calling out where he is as a player at his age. Well, if only because I already did that. Jackson has since improved his running while also dropping more easy catches than a 2006 Roddy White.
Whether he is good or bad, there is very little positive we can get out of giving Jackson the rock. Are we bringing Jackson back next year? Then why are the Falcons burning up a guy who should "saved" for next year? That is like getting out of your rental car and doing a neutral drop in your own car. If Jackson is gone next year, lets get some other guys a few reps just to see what we have.
Remember Josh Vaughan? "Wasn't he that guy with a 65 yard touchdown in the preseason?" Yup! Vaughan showed some great speed and awareness for a 225 pound bruiser back. It is like you combined the discipline, the timing and the power of gymnastics with the explosive force of karate to create a new and powerful martial art.
I'm not sure what type of player Vaughan could be, and odds are, the coaching staff isn't sure either. It took multiple injuries for Smith to get a few garbage-time touches and he performed exceptionally well. Vaughan, of course, is behind Smith on the depth chart. Atlanta can figure out what they have by giving Vaughan a dozen or so snaps in the last two games of a lost season. Maybe he can carve out a role in our offense next year.