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1406731728
Steven Jackson out with hamstring injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com

Falcons running back Steven Jackson missed practice Tuesday with a hamstring injury he suffered Monday, the team announced. Coach Mike Smith provided no timetable for Jackson's return, other than to say he'll be ready for the season opener.

Smith said Jackson hurt his left hamstring; last year, Jackson was plagued by a right hamstring injury.

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1406670349
Steven Jackson misses practice
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com

Falcons running back Steven Jackson missed Tuesday's practice, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The team has not said whether Jackson is hurt or just getting a day off.

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Devonta Freeman to push Steven Jackson?
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer

Steven Jackson is fully expected to begin the season as the Falcons' primary rusher, but ESPN has seen enough from rookie running back Devonta Freeman to believe that he'll push Jackson enough to make it a camp battle worth watching

Per ESPN, Freeman was drafted with the intention of eventually being a three-down player for the Falcons. But "[i]f he looks as good in pads as he did in shorts, Jackson might have a battle on his hands." 

Jackson will turn 31 before the start of the season and has well over 2,500 career carries. 

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'No sweeping changes' to Falcons run game
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer

The Falcons' official team website reports that there will be "no sweeping changes" to the team's run game after finishing 32nd in the league in rush yards in 2013. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said there wouldn't be an uptick or a downswing in the number of run plays he calls. Instead, he's expecting new players on the O-line and in the backfield to mesh with the old strategy. 

"We're going to be a better running football team, starting with the offensive line and progressing throughout the team," Koetter said. "We'll be more committed to it."

Steven Jackson is expected to be the starter with rookie Devonta Freeman and vet Jacquizz Rodgers behind him. After having a down year that included missing time with an injury, he says he'll be ready. 

"I've always prided myself on being able to go stronger through the game," he said. "With having favorable boxes, which I anticipate, I think we'll be quite OK."

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Falcons still like big back Steven Jackson
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer

Falcons coach Mike Smith admitted that the running back position was going through a transition "in terms of value." But speaking at the NFL Owners Meeting this week in Orlando, Smith still believes it's important to have a big, physical back, which he has in Steven Jackson

"You've got to be able to run the football and run the football when everybody knows that you're going to do that," Smith said. "And when you're in that situation you've got to have a big back. We felt that Steven was the type of running back that we were looking for. Unfortunately Steven was injured last year and we really didn't get a chance to see what he was capable of doing until the last four or five games. But you've got to have a big back when you've got to get two or three yards or you've got to change your gameplan based on weather, especially late in the season, and you've got to be able to run the football."

Jackson finished last year with 543 yards on 157 carries (3.5 avg.) with six touchdowns in 12 games. He added 33 grabs for 191 yards and another score. 

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