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Rookie Back Jacquizz Rodgers Will Have Catching Up to Do

By Columnist Tara Banks

Rookie running back Jacquizz Rodgers will have some catching up to do to be ready to play with the Falcons this season, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC. Rodgers made a deal with his mother to finish school. Rodgers said, “I have to get my degree so that I will have something to fall back on after football.” After he was drafted by the Falcons in the fifth round, Rodgers returned to Oregon to attend school.

He missed the Falcons players-only workouts held in May and June. He was drafted on the third day of the draft when the NFL Lockout had been reinstated so Rodgers did not have the Falcons’ playbook.

In past seasons, Head coach Mike Smith has prepared his key rookies with his “whole-part-whole” teaching method. If the Falcons had a minicamp this season, Rodgers would have gotten the “whole” playbook. Then the Falcons would come back and teach parts of the playbook to see if Rodgers can grasp the whole system.

Getting Rodgers up to speed may be a challenge for Smith if a collective bargaining agreement is reached and training camp begins on July 29th. Due to free agency and the possibility of Norwood or Snelling leaving, Rodgers could have a chance to be the back-up to Michael Turner.

Rodgers knows for him carrying the ball is the easy part. He is focused on pass protection. He said, “You have to know your protections and who you are blocking.” After finishing the semester, Rodgers returned to his hometown Richmond, Texas. He’s been preparing for football by running and putting on muscle weight. He was effective in college he rushed for 1000 yards in all three seasons and caught 151 passes.

Rodgers is confident he can have an impact similar to Baltimore’s Ray Rice or Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew. Although he doesn’t know the Falcons offense yet he is eager to contribute as a rookie. He wants to learn from veteran players and do anything he can to help the team win games.

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