FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson believes the team will get the rushing attack rolling and noted that he's not ready to "panic." "I just wanted to make the best of the opportunities given to me last week," said Jackson, who returned from a hamstring injury, but was held to 6 yards on 11 carries against Arizona. "I didn't get a chance to do so, but I have another week to make an argument for (more carries). I'll continue to just work hard and show that despite what it may look like, my confidence is not shaken."
The Falcons, who face the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. Sunday in Charlotte, N.C., are averaging 62.4 yards rushing per game, 32nd (last) in the league. Jackson missed the previous four games with a hamstring injury he suffered of the first series of the St. Louis Rams game on Sept. 15.
Jackson doesn't feel that he has to prove anything. Also, coaches have blamed the poor outing against Arizona on porous blocking and the fact that the Falcons fell behind 21-6 and had to abandon the run.
"At this point, my ability has been proven over time," Jackson said. "I just need to get out there and get in the flow of the game and work on my chemistry with my offensive line. It's not necessary for me to feel like I need to panic. I just need to be who I am." Jackson, who had a 50-yard gain in the season opener against New Orleans, has 23 rushes for 83 yards this season.
"It's not frustrating," Jackson said. "I'm just disappointed that we didn't win (against Arizona). The work that needs to be put in during the week is being done. Now, we have to carry it over to Sunday." The Falcons are about to play their eighth game, but are still working on their chemistry.
"We've had guys shuffling around up front and I haven't been in there as well," Jackson said. "We are working on our chemistry and my running style. (Offensive coordinator) Dirk (Koetter) is getting used to my running style. There are a lot of moving parts." The Falcons figure to have a tough time running against the Panthers, who are second in the league in rushing defense. They are giving up just 79.3 yards per game.
"They are a very aggressive defense," Jackson said. "We have to make sure that we match their intensity, make plays in the running game and build off of that." The former Rams great was signed as a free agent and was hoping to be on a winning team. He's holding out hope for a turnaround from the 2-5 start.
"The thing about this team and this organization is that they've had so much success in the past that at any moment, they can get ball rolling," Jackson said. "Get that one or two game winning streak and catch fire. We have people on our team like Osi (Umenyiora), who has been a part of those situations. We just have to get the confidence. We just have to get the wins under our belt."
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