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.
"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."
"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."
"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.
"I don't think we really got a chance to see what Steven was capable of doing until the last three or four games," Smith said.
Jackson, who turns 31 in July, averaged a career-low 3.5 yards per carry but scored six touchdowns over the final six games.
“We’ve got to commit to the run game a little bit more. That’s something that I can definitely help with,” Koetter told the team's website. “We’ve also got to do a better job of executing in the run game. I don’t feel like we ever really gave
“He got hurt in that second game, missed three or four games until he came back. We’ve just got to commit to running the ball more, give it to Steven and that’ll help us get better fast.”