User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
RB Jacquizz Rodgers could take lead for Falcons

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - This could be Jacquizz Rodgers' week to be more than a complement to Michael Turner in the Atlanta Falcons' running game.

Advertisement
Rodgers has seen a steady increase in carries and has been the team's leading rusher in two of the last four games. Still, he has remained the clear backup to Turner, who has had more carries than Rodgers in each of Atlanta's 12 games.

That could change Sunday at Carolina.

Turner was limited in practice on Thursday for the second straight day with a left elbow injury. He had a wrap on the elbow, which he hurt in the Falcons' win over New Orleans on Nov. 29.

Coach Mike Smith said he expects Turner will play against the Panthers. Smith said Rodgers has proved he can be the lead back if needed.

``Absolutely,'' Smith said after Thursday's practice. ``Jacquizz is one of many guys we feel like deserves to get touches on our offense. If need be, we think he can take carries that other guys may get in other games.''

Rodgers has a combined 18 carries for 82 yards the last two games - his top totals for back-to-back weeks this season.

``You get a feel for the game when you touch the ball more,'' Rodgers said. ``Things come to you more easily when you have a better feel for the game.''

This week's possible opportunity for Rodgers comes as Turner's production has dipped. Turner averaged 4.0 yards per carry in the Falcons' first eight games and only 3.0 in the last four games. He was held to 15 yards on 13 carries at New Orleans on Nov. 11 and 17 yards on 13 carries at Tampa Bay on Nov. 25.

At 5-foot-6 and 188 pounds, Rodgers can disappear behind offensive linemen, and he is quick and elusive in open field.

Rodgers made his first impact as a rookie last season with his receiving skills. That role has expanded this season, as he ranks fourth on the team with 37 catches for 284 yards and a touchdown.

He has 274 yards rushing with a touchdown and slowly has proved he can be more than a back who plays on passing situations.

``He's been huge for us,'' said tight end Tony Gonzalez. ``I was just talking about that in the meeting room, how big he's been for us this year. With his quickness, his ability to make people miss, he's coming up with plays in the game in our four-minute offense to close out the clock. He's been great.''

Rodgers has never had more than 10 carries in a game. He reached that total for only the third time in his career when he rushed for 49 yards with a touchdown against Tampa Bay. He added 43 yards rushing against the Saints on Nov. 29.

The Falcons have found more ways to get the ball to Rodgers in space, where he can take advantage of his elusiveness. He has had long runs of 43, 20, 18 and 14 yards and is averaging 4.0 yards per carry.

``I'm just making plays when I'm in there so my number can be called more often,'' Rodgers said. ``That's the main thing, taking advantages of my small opportunities that I do have when I get the ball.''

Rodgers said he's preparing for a possible bigger role this week, but he said that is his mindset every week.

``All the running backs, we practice to be ready,'' he said. ``We all practice different situations, preparing just in case we're in that position at any point.''

Receiver Roddy White said Rodgers could produce more big plays if he had more carries.

``He's hard to tackle in space,'' White said. ``I have hardly seen anybody tackle him in space. That's one of the attributes he brings to the team, in one-on-one matchups he doesn't get tackled.

``It's good to have a guy like that you can put out there that's a matchup problem for the defense. He's also good at screens and stuff. The more opportunities we can put the ball in his hands, it will be good.''

NOTES: Asked about Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy's statement that the Panthers are a better team than the Falcons, despite Carolina's 30-28 loss in Atlanta on Sept. 30, White said ``They've got to say something. They're fighting, they're holding on. They're in a different position than we are. They're trying to save the rest of their season and we're trying to prepare ourselves for this playoff run.'' ... Cornerback Asante Samuel (right shoulder) and safety William Moore (hamstring) were held out of practice for the second straight day. Smith said he will ``definitely be very cautious'' with Samuel, who lasted only three plays against the Saints after first hurting the shoulder against Arizona on Nov. 18. ... Defensive tackle Peria Jerry (thigh) practiced on a limited basis.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Manos: Seven Preseason Lessons
Mejia: NFC Preseason Wrap
Mejia: AFC Preseason Wrap
Lawrence: Trends to Watch - September
Lawrence: 2014 NFC Season Preview
Marshall: Ravens rising up
Lawrence: 2014 AFC Season Preview
ASA: NFC North Notebook
ASA: NFC South Notebook
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
4-0 L4, 10-2 L12, 13-4 This Year
8-1 Last 9 NFL Run
7-1 L8 Guarantees, +950 This Year
6-0 Guaranteed Play Streak
6-1 L7 G-Plays, 11-5 L16 Picks
5-2 Guaranteed Play Record
NFL Pro Football Expert Sports Picks- Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks
2014 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 950
James Manos + 850
Bruce Marshall + 630
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last Week  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
James Manos 76 %
Scott Pritchard 70 %
ASA 67 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 651
Scott Pritchard + 490
The Gold Sheet + 281
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 873
Hank Goldberg + 600
ASA + 200
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 270
Antony Dinero + 228
ASA + 200
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!