The Seahawks signed veteran running back Fred Jackson this weekend and he'll be quickly installed as the backup behind Marshawn Lynch and likely third-down back in Seattle's offense. Jackson has freshly arrived to the Pacific Northwest, but Pete Carroll told reporters yesterday that "he'll play a lot" this week in St. Louis. "He ran the whole offense today," said Carroll, "I don't know how he got it all done, but he got it done today so I would think he'll be ready to go."
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With the thought in mind that we'll quickly see Jackson on the field for the Seahawks, I chatted with former Bills beat reporter and current Bills columnist (as well as occasional writer here at Field Gulls) Chris Trapasso, who offered up a nice scouting report on Jackson.
Here's what he had to say (my questions in bold, his answers follow).
1. Pete Carroll mentioned that Jackson's primary role will be on third downs. Does this make sense with his skillset in mind, and why?
Absolutely. That fact likely had something to do with his release from the Bills -- he is a 34-year-old running back who was set to make $2.7M -- and he's now best playing a versatile role in third-down situations.
Why is he so good in that third-down running back role? Simple. He can do it all. Jackson's pass protection prowess has been well-documented, but he's a talented, reliable and efficient receiver. Last year, he tied Le'Veon Bell with 1.74 yards per route run, which was good for 5th in the NFL at the running back position.
He's also always been a grinder in short yardage too. I think Jackson can still be one of the best third-down running backs in the league, and with that strictly as his job, the Seahawks should be able to get the most out of him.
2. We've heard a lot about Jackson's pass catching ability and his numbers in receiving from last year are very good. What makes him such a good pass catching back?
As mentioned, he's reliable. Jackson won't drop many passes, he understands underneath coverages and if he needs to sit in a zone or keep moving in man. Beyond that -- and this is probably most important -- he has top-level vision and awareness when reading and reacting to blocks in front of him in the screen game.
3. What does Jackson bring to the table in terms of running ability? Obviously, the man is 34 years old, but has he shown signs of aging?
For as much as you'll be surprised at Jackson's lack of speed and burst, his agility at 34 years old after a decade in the NFL will blow you away.
His "jump" cut is amazing, and he understands how to use defenders momentum against them.
At 6'1" and 220-ish, Jackson still packs a punch, even against linebackers. He's always run really hard. Because of all that, he's probably best utilized on runs between the tackles and in short-yardage situations.
4. Jackson is a fan favorite in Buffalo? How'd he become such a living legend over there?
I feel confident writing Jackson is the most beloved Bills player since the Hall of Fame group of the 1990s. His underdog story aligns perfectly with the city of Buffalo. He was a no-nonsense gamer who was also an extremely versatile weapon on a handful of bad to mediocre Bills teams.
Beyond that, he had a strong presence in the community.
I'd bet he's on the Bills Wall of Fame some day -- that's how underrated and revered he was in Buffalo.
Huge thanks to Chris (find him on twitter here) for hooking us up with a scouting report on the Seahawks newest running back. Chris is the homepage editor at NFL.com, an NFL Now programmer, and NFL writer for CBS Sports and FOX Sports.