Practice report: Jackson still observing

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson, sidelined with a hamstring injury, remained without a helmet as the team returned to practice Wednesday.

Jackson hasn’t practiced or played in a game since injuring his hamstring in a Week 2 win over his former team, the St. Louis Rams. This week’s bye gives him a chance to get more rest. Jackson seemed optimistic about possibly returning for the team’s next game -- an Oct. 20 home matchup against NFC South foe Tampa Bay.

Receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White were not on the field for the viewing period of practice. Jones, who suffered what might be a season-ending foot injury, was scheduled to get a second opinion in Charlotte. White, who sustained a hamstring injury in Monday night’s loss to the New York Jets, could miss a few games. The fact that Jackson has been sidelined three weeks with his hamstring injury might be an indicator of how long White could be out.

Also missing from the practice field were running back Jason Snelling and left tackle Sam Baker. Snelling was knocked out of Monday night’s game with a concussion, while Baker injured his knee/foot two weeks ago against the New England Patriots. Baker has not been on the practice field -- not even as an observer -- since going down with the injury.

The week off could give Snelling a chance to recover from the concussion. If not, then the Falcons might have depth issues at running back, depending on Jackson's hamstring. Jacquizz Rodgers has been the starter with Jackson out.

Starting middle linebacker Akeem Dent, who injured his ankle against the Patriots, limped to the practice field Wednesday but stood and watched. Omar Gaither started in place of Dent on Monday night.

The Falcons have on more practice Thursday before taking four days off.