Jump to content

Jackson Excited To Have Gonzalez Back At Practice


Lowndesfalc
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://sports.yahoo....02579--nfl.html

Jackson excited to have Gonzalez back at practice

By GEORGE HENRY (Associated Press) | The Associated Press – 16 hours ago

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Steven Jackson is even more excited about the potential of the Atlanta Falcons' offense now that tight end Tony Gonzalez is back at practice.

Jackson signed a three-year, free-agent contract as the NFL's active leading rusher in March for a myriad of reasons.

But chief among them was the chance to play alongside Gonzalez, the league's No. 2 career leading receiver behind Jerry Rice.

Jackson said earlier this year that he always heard how intensely Gonzalez, a 17th-year veteran, works in practice, later adding that it was impressive to watch in person.

Gonzalez's return has reinforced Jackson's belief that working efficiently on the practice field is more valuable than taking snaps in the first two weeks of preseason.

''Now we have Tony back, we haven't been together as a full team, for a whole offense, for a whole game,'' Jackson said on Thursday. ''I don't take anything from (the first two preseason games), but what we've done on the practice field I'm proud of.''

Jackson and Gonzalez both considered retiring after the 2012 season, though Gonzalez's decision was far more publicized - in part because of his place in the NFL record books, but also because theFalcons went 13-3 last season and finished 10 yards shy of the Super Bowl.

When Gonzalez announced on March 12 that he would return for a final season, Jackson signed a $12 million contract two days later.

Jackson arrived in Atlanta with a reputation for practicing hard and smart, but the regimen never brought him satisfaction in the standings. St. Louis, which drafted him No. 24 overall out of Oregon State in 2004, hasn't had a winning season since '03.

But Jackson didn't want to forsake his pride as a professional, deciding early in his career that he wanted to beat the average odds of an NFL running back's career - 3 1/2 years - and play at a high level for several seasons.

When Jackson saw how hard his predecessor with the Rams - running back Marshall Faulk - worked in practice, he established a benchmark for himself. Faulk, now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, helped St. Louis win one Super Bowl and advance to another, and he influenced habits that Jackson still uses.

''It's not before a big crowd and lights are on, but I think this is actually when you win games,'' Jackson said. ''This is actually when you put together a winning season. The longevity of a career is on the practice field, continuing to work at your craft and honing it.''

In last week's defeat at Baltimore, the first-team offense improved its performance on the ground from the previous week's loss to Cincinnati, but the Falcons are putting much importance on preseason statistics.

''I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage better from week one to week two,'' coach Mike Smith said. ''I thought Steven did a very nice job, had very good vision. I thought the whole running game improved. Josh (Vaughan) and Antone (Smith) had explosive runs, so we did some nice things.''

Jackson believes it might take several weeks to develop a common understanding with his offensive line, which has a new center in Peter Konz and an ongoing competition at right tackle between Lamar Holmes and Ryan Schraeder.

Left tackle Sam Baker, left guard Justin Blalock and right guard Garrett Reynolds are established veterans, but Jackson is having to learn not only the tendencies of each player but the tendencies of the line as a whole.

''I don't think there will be a moment of epiphany that it's all just going to come together in one moment,'' he said. ''But I think over the course of the year, especially as we get into the regular season and games mean something, we'll better get a feel for one another, but right now I'm very pleased at the rate that we're growing.''

The Falcons have a potentially major concern offensively if four-time Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White doesn't recover from an ankle injury before the Sept. 8 season opener at New Orleans.

But with White missing practice since getting hurt at Baltimore, Jackson appreciated that Gonzalez's return four days ago boosted the team and gave quarterback Matt Ryan another important target.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With all the pieces in place and the OL beginning to firm up, should be an entertaining evening of football against the Titans. Probably going to see more emphasis on the ground game to get the OL honed and working together, but we're still going to score some TD's, just from spontaneous combustion with the heat we bring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did hear Smitty say that while we would rotate some skill players with the first group, they would not be rotating the O line while the first group offense was on the field.

I did hear Smitty say that while we would rotate some skill players with the first group, they would not be rotating the O line while the first group offense was on the field.

hope so.....the more snaps the O line get together as a unit, the better they will get
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Falcons have a potentially major concern offensively if four-time Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White doesn't recover from an ankle injury before the Sept. 8 season opener at New Orleans.

I love how stuff is always made a bigger deal than in reality. It has already been mentioned multiple times that Roddy would play this week if it were a regular season game. He hasn't missed a game in 8 years, and you think there is a possibility he will miss the season opener in New Orleans? Not a chance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did hear Smitty say that while we would rotate some skill players with the first group, they would not be rotating the O line while the first group offense was on the field.

I'm guessing that means we'll see more of Davis, Cone, Smith, Coffman, and Toilolo out there on the field at the same time as Ryan.

I'm hoping they'll also allow some new guys to play with the first-team defense. I would really love to see Alford, Worrilow, Goodman, Maponga, etc. get some first-team reps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not the only one who read that in Smitty's voice, am I? I'm excited for this year. I feel our team as a whole is really coming together. I don't think it's Super Bowl or bust, but I know there's a Lombardi trophy waiting for us at the end of the season, and SJax and Tony G will be key components to help lift that trophy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not the only one who read that in Smitty's voice, am I? I'm excited for this year. I feel our team as a whole is really coming together. I don't think it's Super Bowl or bust, but I know there's a Lombardi trophy waiting for us at the end of the season, and SJax and Tony G will be key components to help lift that trophy.

I agree to that 100%...

When I went down to the branch,you could sensed that the boys had more of a edge

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel good about our offense as a whole. I know it will take the line some time to gel but I'm not worry. The skill players will take the pressure off of them.

Its a numbers game. 11 guys on defense. Two has to account for Julio, one or two has to account for Roddy, if one is accounting for Roddy two is accounting for Tony or vice versa. So basically that leaves a 6 man box for Jackson. Something Turner couldn't take advantage of. That's not even including the extra player rather that be Douglas, Coffman, or Ewing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...