Green Bay Packers Free Agent Brandon Jackson Disillusioned with Own Abilities
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The question remains... Why is Jackson bored? He is far from being an every-down back in the NFL —isn't there something he could be doing to improve his game?
If that wasn't bad enough, Jackson spilled more to the Press-Gazette.
Jackson revealed that he wants to sign someplace where he has "the opportunity to be a starter", and then added, "I feel like I’ve proven myself to be an every-down back, a third-down back – I can do it all."
Jackson is correct, in part, with that statement, but the truth is something he doesn't want to fully admit.
The truth in Jackson's statement comes in the fact that he has, indeed, proven himself as a third-down back. He is an exceptional third-down guy.
Jackson is a solid route runner as far as running backs go. He has an ability to catch the football unlike many of his fellow backs are concerned. He does well in space and makes defenders miss in the open field, and above all else...
Jackson is an exceptional blocker. I would not hesitate to call him one of the best in the business as far as backs and pass protection goes. According to Pro Football Focus, Jackson took part in 637 snaps for the Packers in 2010. In total he allowed only two QB pressures, and Aaron Rodgers was only brought down once at the fault of Jackson.
If he were to accept that role for whomever signs him, he will prove to be a steal on the open market and pay dividends to his new team. However, Jackson still believes he is capable of being an every-down kind of running back.
Jackson is not a starting caliber halfback in the NFL, and would get stiff competition for the top spot on the depth chart in other leagues such as the AFL, CFL or UFL.
What Jackson struggles with, and apparently doesn't yet understand in his game is the fact that he simply is not capable of taking the punishment of being an every-down back like an Adrian Peterson or Steven Jackson.
Jackson is not a power type runner. He struggles with his vision out of the backfield, and struggles to find and then hit the holes that his offensive line creates. He will miss a hole, and then dance in the backfield for a two or three yard loss.
His cuts aren't as crisp as they need to be and if by chance he does find a hole or gap in the defense, he struggles to hit the hole with authority and defenses are able to collapse down onto him before he does any serious damage.
He also doesn't have burning or breakaway speed.
The best example of this was during the overtime loss to the Washington Redskins in 2010. Jackson hit the hole better than he ever has in his career. He charged up the middle into a sea of red, and came out the other end.
The problem came in the fact that Jackson was never able to break away from the defenders. One Redskin defensive back stumbled a little, but otherwise ran step-for-step with Jackson and eventually brought him down before he broke the plane of the end zone.
What should have been an impressive touchdown turned into a nice run that Jackson couldn't finish.
And finally, the biggest detractor from Jackson becoming an every-down back is his inability to withstand the bulk of the carries. After ten or fifteen rush attempts, Jackson's production took a severe nose dive.
According to Jackson's profile on NFL.com, Jackson rushed for a very respectable average of 4.1 yards per carry in his first ten attempts per game. All three of Jackson's touchdowns that came on the ground came within those first ten carries and all of which came in the first half.
After ten carries, Jackson was only able to sustain a measly 2.5 yards per carry.
It doesn't stop there. In the first half, Jackson is able to maintain his 4.1 YPC, but as soon as the second half begins, his average drops to a painfully mediocre 3.3.
Jackson struggles, as proven above, when he is asked to put the weight of the running game on his back. The more you give him the football in the ground game, the less productive he becomes.
Is that an attribute you want in your teams starting running back? If you answered 'No', NFL GMs and coaches agree with you.
The cold truth is that Jackson isn't capable of being a starter in the NFL. The sooner he is able to realize this harsh reality, the sooner he will be able to become the effective and dominant third-down back he is capable of becoming.
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