1) Introduction: Brandon Jackson had been envisioned to be the next Ahman Green when he was drafted in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft. Jackson had a promising rookie season but was eclipsed by the unknown Ryan Grant, who became the primary running back after week 8 of the 2007 season. With a loss of touches, Jackson began to transition himself from an every down back to a 3rd down back with great success; Packers coaches and players have lauded him as one of the best pass protectors on the team, with film of him being used as teaching tape for other running backs learning pass protection. With Grant going to IR after the first game of the 2010 season, Jackson was again thrust back as the primary running back. It will be interesting to see what the Packers decide to do with this free agent.
Brandon Lamar Jackson
Height: 5-11 Weight: 210 lbs.
3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Significant role player – Jackson was designated the Packers primary 3rd down back, mostly due to his ability to pass protect, an ability that was in high demand based on the Packer’s pass first offensive philosophy and apparently weakness at offensive line from the 2009 season. Jackson also was expected to be quarterback Aaron Rodger’s check down player due to his excellent hands (especially after the Packers lost tight end Jermichael Finley to IR).
4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Jackson’s highlights included an 115 yard outing against the Washington Redskins with a 71-yard burst, which was the longest running play of the season. Another was his screen pass for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card game. His lowlights included 4 games where he didn’t gain 20 yard total and was supplanted by unknown rookie James Starks as the primary ball carrier. Overall, Jackson as the primary back was unsuccessful, he seemed hesitant at picking holes and was often dragged down at or behind the line of scrimmage. He excelled as a pass protector though, and while it might not be reflected in the stats, he was the Packers most important running back of the 2010 season.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: His pass protection skills were vitally important for the Packers this year, especially against blitz happy teams such as the Bears, Giants and Steelers.
6) Player’s contributions during the 6-win end-of-season run: With the emergence of rookie James Starks, Jackson took up his old position as 3rd down back. Ironically, Jackson was probably on the field more than Starks even as the 3rd down back since the team’s philosophy at the end of the season was to let Aaron Rodgers throw the ball…a lot.
Season Report Card:
(A) Level of expectations met during the season
(B ) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B-) Contributions to team’s success during the playoff run (last 6 games)
Overall Grade for the year: B+——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.