Rodgers not a ‘change-of-pace’ running back

Falcons head coach Mike Smith gives running back Jacquizz Rodgers a low five after he rushed for a touchdown in an exhibition game against the Ravens.  CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons head coach Mike Smith gives running back Jacquizz Rodgers a low five after he rushed for a touchdown in an exhibition game against the Ravens. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.

The Falcons no longer consider Jacquizz Rodgers a change-of-pace running back. They may have drafted the 5-foot-6 Rodgers in the fifth round out of Oregon State last season to give opposing defenses a different look from the stout Michael Turner.

According to coach Mike Smith, Rodgers is an every-down running back. And one the team wants to the get the ball to more often.

“Jacquizz is a player that we’ve got to get him some touches,” Smith said after Tuesday’s practice. “We found out very early once we got him here that he is not a change-of-pace back. He’s a guy who can do all the things that you ask a running back to do. You go out and perform and when he’s had his opportunities, he’s done a nice job.

“It is obvious that we need to try to get him the football. Again, it’s tough a chore sometimes based on how teams are trying to defend us and the guys we have on offense.”

The Falcons are looking to decrease the load on Turner. Jason Snelling, who is out with a lower right leg injury, and Rodgers figure to get some of those carries.

In three exhibition games, Rodgers has 61 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. He led the Falcons in rushing in two of the three games.

- Chris Vivlamore

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59 comments Add your comment

FalconUGAFan

August 29th, 2012
7:33 am

Good for him…Love to see the smaller guys perform!

Rise Up Nation

August 29th, 2012
7:36 am

Almost first!

Season Ticket Holder

August 29th, 2012
8:02 am

I like Jacquizz Rodgers over Turner the Slow Burner. It appears that Turner has lost a step and is mor of a change of pace back.

Larry

August 29th, 2012
8:10 am

Chris,

Can you find out Rodger’s hat or helmet size? His helmet looks larger than anyone on the team and with his small stature this makes him look like a bobble-head doll. LOL!

As for his running ability, I just don’t see the quickness or top-end speed for him to be anything special, and he’s certainly not big enough to move the pile in short yardage situations. An “every down back” he is not, but I’m pulling for the guy to give it his best.

Michael Turner

August 29th, 2012
8:11 am

I can still kick your ass.

Gumbo

August 29th, 2012
8:12 am

Quizz should get many more carries than Michael “The Dancing Bear” Turner. Must be frustrating to block for a guy that takes 3 seconds to hit the hole….

Jacquizz Rodgers

August 29th, 2012
8:17 am

You can’t catch me.

Wilson Pickett

August 29th, 2012
8:32 am

The Falcons don’t have an NFL everydown back on the roster.

Anderson

August 29th, 2012
8:32 am

No offense,D-Led,because I respect your work,but this article appears recycled and/or redundant. I’ve heard this (JR is not a “change of pace” running back) multiple times this summer. I hope the coaching staff put their money where their mouth is regarding Turner and Rodgers when it comes to their “touches”. Turner has actually impressed me more this pre-season with his pass catching than his running. It will be interesting to see how the situation plays itself out in the regular season.

Esquire

August 29th, 2012
8:33 am

We are going to find out how durable Rodgers is. I have no doubt he is not as prone to injury as Jerious Norwood was but I hope he has something left in the tank by game 10 thru the playoffs.

JesusHChristo

August 29th, 2012
8:42 am

Hey Anderson – How about paying a little more attention before you make a statement. Who wrote the article? SMH.

Great Falconi

August 29th, 2012
8:45 am

Quizz averaged 262 carries a year in college and caught 151 balls in that time, so he must be pretty durable. He’s only 5′6″, but he’s probably around 200 lbs and appears to be built like a tank. You don’t run the way he does unless you’re tough. The good thing is that Turner is still here. Quizz doesn’t have to carry the ball 300 times or something. I’m glad the kid is on the team. He makes the Falcons better.

GT GRAD

August 29th, 2012
9:01 am

JR should be the starter. Snelling #2 if he is healthy. Smith #3 (he has shown he can play the position, he has speed and he is a beast on special teams).

It is time……we can cut Turner and save $$$$ on the salary cap. Scour the waiver wire for a young talented RB we can develop at #4 (might get lucky and find a very solid RB for the future). Bonus: IF we can find a team wiling to trade for Turner; take the offer!!!!!

Turner is a great guy and has been a solid teammate……his skill set has declined too much to justify the $$$$ and he hurts the team when a faster/better RB could be in the gam.

Falcon James

August 29th, 2012
9:16 am

It looks like Turner is not a sacred cow after all.

Wink

August 29th, 2012
9:18 am

@Larry, Man I agree with you. Rodgers would rather run into you than to go around a tackler. I have not seen any top end speed from him even on kickoffs. Our change of pace back would be Antoine Smith or Dimitri Nance, both make Turner & Rodgers look like they are in quicksand, especially Turner!

Eisendawg

August 29th, 2012
9:23 am

JR has incredible strength and toughness for his size. It’s not the size of dog in the fight, rather the size of fight in the dog.

Mikefalcon63

August 29th, 2012
9:26 am

DLED or Vivlamore: What would be the cap hit if we were to cut Turner? Granted he helped us get through the first 4 seasons, but he really does look slow. I am not sure he adds much value any more.

SirReal

August 29th, 2012
9:37 am

I think Turner has ONE more good season in him.lol But I like Rogers. Looks like Warrick Dunn 2.0.LOL Small but very compact and I’ve seen him run a few guys over. :)

Mike

August 29th, 2012
9:50 am

Jaquizz can run inside or out, he can catch the ball in the flat or downfield; he can do everything except block.

Michael Turner

August 29th, 2012
9:52 am

If they cut me, I’ll piledrive Arthur Blank into next week. Fairweather fans.

get smart

August 29th, 2012
10:32 am

Michael Turner was the number one ranked running back in the NFC last season with 1,340 yards.

Also ranked number three in the NFL behind Maurice Jones Drew and Ray Rice in yardage gained.

Wake up idiots.

Dirty Bird since 71`

August 29th, 2012
10:44 am

We shouldve used Turner for trade bait and got a few first rounders for him..

Dirty Bird since 71`

August 29th, 2012
10:44 am

Or a first rounder.. Maybe more than one would be stretching it. Or a draft picks I should say

50 caliber

August 29th, 2012
10:47 am

I have always wanted to see Smith get a chance he has looked good in every pre season game since he has been here and hits the hole as fast as anyone in the game.

50 caliber

August 29th, 2012
10:50 am

DB 71, I think the rumor is Turner would only get you a 4th or 5th rounder at this stage in his career.

Eddog 45

August 29th, 2012
10:52 am

Just remember, all the people saying trade MT know very little about football. Just SMH and go on.:-)

A Man Of Reason

August 29th, 2012
11:00 am

Wow, some of you fans are so sheepish. I realize its the in thing to say in Atlanta that Turner is slow, fat, old etc., but do you guys even understand football at all. Substance is more valuable than flash. Turner has led the NFC in yards for 2 years in a row I believe, and last year that was behind a very sub par Oline. While he may not be popular among fans who buy into the hype that football is played like a Madden video game, he is one of the better backs in the league. If you were to put him behind a quality run blocking line, he would be leading the entire league in yards every year. And, before you point out his yards per carry, remember that with MM calling plays, every team knew the play as well as the Falcons did. Turner is head and shoulders better than any back we have on this team. I do think not having Ovie is going to hurt him this year, but he will continue to be the best back on this team by a mile.

Eisendawg

August 29th, 2012
11:28 am

@Man of reason, I agree. We need more than one quality back, and Turner is still solid. We don’t need to get rid of anybody, unless something better comes along. One thing for sure, If the Falcons find a better combo, they will go after it. And when they do, there will be those who question the move.

4th&1-"Turner hit in the backfield"

August 29th, 2012
11:30 am

Turner in the playoffs: 18-42 vs Arizona
10-39 vs Green Bay
15-41 vs Giants

But he is hell on wheels against the weak teams.

Serious?

August 29th, 2012
11:39 am

One thing for sure. Julio will be the only one left from the Offense, if the New Matt Ryan don’t show up this year. No one should go unthreaten across the board….Coaches, Players, Trainers, Canon Guy.

North FLA Falcon

August 29th, 2012
11:43 am

What is wrong with Snelling? Another mysterious injury?

Jay

August 29th, 2012
12:01 pm

The new layout on ajc.com is VERY cluttered and not as well organized. It looks like some content (that you have to scan the page to find), surrounded by ads EVERYWHERE. It’s like navigating a mine field to find the article you want to read while trying to avoid all these ads. Very disappointing.

kyle

August 29th, 2012
12:01 pm

Matt Ryan has better statistics than Drew Brees comparing their first 4 seasons. It makes me really question the intelligence of someone thats says, “The new Matt Ryan better show up.” Really man, are you that ignorant?

If MJD can be an every down back so can Rodgers.

Jimmy Crack

August 29th, 2012
12:07 pm

Who cares. We are never running the ball again, ever. Ever ever. The only time we’re ever going to run the ball again, ever, is if the ball falls out of Matt’s hands while he is passing and someone picks it up and runs with it.

KC

August 29th, 2012
12:11 pm

I forgot Snelling is out with an injury. What’s the update on him? Will he better ready for the opener?

Mikefalcon63

August 29th, 2012
12:12 pm

get smart: “Idiots”??? Are you really name calling without considering your own lack of intellect? Go back to school and learn about diminishing returns….

Bottom line, I could care less about what Michael Turner has done. That time is in the past. What I see now is a guy who is slow to hit the hole and goes down on initial contact more often than not. By the logic of some, we should bring back Warrick Dunn and Jamal Anderson b/c of what they have done.

Also, the point of Turner’s decline has been stated over and over again by coaches in the form of statements about reducing his work load and pumping up the abilities of Rodgers.

A Man Of Reason

August 29th, 2012
12:14 pm

4th,

While those numbers are true, you forgot to mention we had to abandon the running game pretty quick in those games due to falling behind. Also, when the Oline can’t give the qb enough time to throw the ball in those games, it is a pretty sure bet they also aren’t opening any holes. AP couldn’t have put up better numbers in those games.

sydney

August 29th, 2012
12:40 pm

You should have seen Quizz in college! He was making all the tacklers miss or they just couldn’t find him.

Grape Nuts are neither grapes or nuts

August 29th, 2012
1:15 pm

Is he related to Aaron Rodgers?

Flacons never learn

August 29th, 2012
1:16 pm

If he is an ever down back does that mean tye R cutting Tippy Toes Turner?

johnm

August 29th, 2012
1:33 pm

tell em kyle. Matt Ryan is awesome. Always has been always will. People who hate ryan dont know football

johnm

August 29th, 2012
1:33 pm

tell em kyle. Matt Ryan is awesome. Always has been always will. People who hate ryan dont know football

johnm

August 29th, 2012
1:33 pm

tell em kyle. Matt Ryan is awesome. Always has been always will. People who hate ryan dont know football

Michael M.

August 29th, 2012
2:14 pm

Watching the Hurricane coverage …………..looks like STB4 is curfewed……….ha ! ………wonder how the Aints practice when they have a storm like this in the area…………lots of flooding and wind damage………….they saying if you loot you get a orange suit……..ha ! ha ! ha !…………better stay curfewed STB4……………………………………………Rise up Falcons !

Cejay

August 29th, 2012
2:58 pm

aint’s left town earlier in the week to practice in TN

Kramer

August 29th, 2012
2:59 pm

I like Rogers but, I don’t think it has been proven yet that he can run inside. Some of that can be attributed to the o-line. Still, it seems to me that when he is on the field defenses are looking for a screen or a run outside the tackles. I hope he can have a great year running the ball. It would take a load off the offense.

PMC

August 29th, 2012
3:12 pm

Well, He’s not Maurice Jones Drew. He’s not an everydown running back in the pound the ball up the middle sort of meaning. He may be an everydown running back in terms of not coming off the field, meaning he can pass protect, run a little and catch the ball.

I just don’t expect him to be a workhorse back in the traditional term, though everydown back probably means something other than what it used to now.

I’m interested to see all the things he can do, but if they ever try another sweep with him on 4th and 2 I’m going to question Coach Smith’s sanity.

PMC

August 29th, 2012
3:14 pm

There’s a lot of things the offensive line has essentially proven that they cannot do as much as the running backs.

The holes are going to be minimal at best, they aren’t moving anyone backwards and they cannot under any circumstance get 1 yard on the ground. They have proven that, it’s not up for discussion. It’s not up for debate, the people they have in house cannot do that.

[...] Jacquizz Rodgers not a ‘change of pace’ running back [...]

PMC

August 29th, 2012
3:17 pm

Everytime I see Quizz run I’m reminded of that beautiful devestating blow he laid on the USC safety to get into the endzone a few years ago. That, was John Abraham walking over Jake Long’s chest beautiful