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Our esteemed Around The League colleague Dan Hanzus heard it from readers after he ranked 26 NFL running backs ahead of veteran Steven Jackson.

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The Atlanta Falcons are more optimistic.

On the heels of signing Jackson to a three-year, $12 million contract in March, coach Mike Smith on Wednesday talked about the 29-year-old as a potential pass-catching threat out of the backfield.

"He's a big, strong running back that catches the ball extremely well," Smith said, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He creates issues for defenses. He's just another weapon that we have in our offensive arsenal. He's a guy who had close to 100 catches in a season, so he's a guy that we can use in the passing game. He's not just a running back, he's a receiving back as well."

The Falcons never had that option with Michael Turner, who caught a measly 59 passes during his five seasons in Atlanta. Jackson has averaged 45 catches per year dating back to 2004.

The caution here is Jacquizz Rodgers, the Falcons' versatile runner who figures to see plenty of action on passing downs. Still, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has talked repeatedly about using more screen passes to chip away at defenses, and that bodes well for Jackson in this high-octane attack.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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All the RB including Jackson, Quizz and Snelling can catch as well as pass protect. Falcons can run different plays from same formations with out substituting and giving up hints to defenses based on personnel.

Yep this is really gonna change things. Corners will have a heckuva time planting and attacking SJax as he catches a dump off from Ryan. I mean you have a 240lb beast snatching a pass with the grace of a WR and turning up field. I mean imagine the decision making process this 180lb corner has to go through. Oh $hit, a flare pass to jax... holy crap, how can i make this look like i'm really making a serious attempt at a tackle? biggrin.png

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Yep this is really gonna change things. Corners will have a heckuva time planting and attacking SJax as he catches a dump off from Ryan. I mean you have a 240lb beast snatching a pass with the grace of a WR and turning up field. I mean imagine the decision making process this 180lb corner has to go through. Oh $hit, a flare pass to jax... holy crap, how can i make this look like i'm really making a serious attempt at a tackle? biggrin.png

Plenty of business decisions to be made this year for Jackson's potential tacklers.
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