It's safe to say Jacquizz Rodgers has been overcoming obstacles for a long time. When you stand about 5'6" on a good day, you have to deal with coaches and front offices who are going to cast a skeptical eye in your general direction. When you aren't the most decisive, fast or powerful runner, your role in an offense isn't guaranteed.
Rodgers has been a big piece of the Falcons' offense for the last three seasons because he's shown he can do everything a back needs to do to be valuable in a given NFL game, particularly when he's averaging 3.6 yards per carry for his career. He provides special teams value, he's a stellar blocker, a deceptively agile and powerful runner at times and a consistent and sticky-handed receiver. When the team needed a back to fill in for an injured Steven Jackson or an ineffective Michael Turner, they often turned to Rodgers, because his versatility makes him mighty useful.
Things change, though. Now Rodgers' future with the team appears to be in some doubt. The Falcons drafted Devonta Freeman, who projects to be a decent blocker, capable receiver and better runner, and he's the heir apparent for Steven Jackson. Gone are the days where Mike Smith talked about Rodgers as a true three-down back, and barring an injury or a faceplant from Freeman, Rodgers will chiefly be used situationally and on third downs, where his blocking and hands make him useful. He has a role, but that role isn't guarantee going forward.
The Falcons will see Rodgers, Jackson, Antone Smith and Josh Vaughan hitting unrestricted free agency in 2015, so they could retool their depth chart entirely next season. I tend to believe that Rodgers can be and will continue to be valuable as a third down back, core special teamer and reserve, and that the Falcons should try to get him back. He'll need to have a good season with the limited touches he'll be given to ensure that outcome, however.
What do you think of Rodgers' role going forward?