Jackson's backups prepping quickly for Falcons

Aug. 2, 2014 FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- With Steven Jackson out injured, the Atlanta Falcons need Jacquizz Rodgers, Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith to fill the void.

It's a tough assignment considering how the run game has fallen from 17th in 2011 to 29th in 2012 to worst in the NFL last season.

Jackson, the NFL's active career leading rusher, missed four games with a left hamstring injury and finished his first year as a Falcon with 543 yards rushing and 3.5 per carry -- the lowest numbers of his 10-season tenure.

For the past several days, Jackson has been nursing a right hamstring injury, putting his three backups in competition for snaps.

Rodgers and Freeman are splitting work with the starters while Smith is working with the second and third teams.

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