Martin, Jackson excel after contact

Rushing yards after contact should be a strength for NFC South backfields in 2013.

Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin and Atlanta’s Steven Jackson were among the league leaders in that area last season. And New Orleans’ Mark Ingram, who is likely to get more carries than in the past, gained a large percentage of yards after contact.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Martin finished second in the league with 683 of his 1,454 rushing yards coming after contact as a rookie. Only Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (1,019) had more yards after contact than Martin.

Jackson, who joined the Falcons after spending last season with the St. Louis Rams, was No. 5. Jackson had 498 yard after contact.

Ingram was No. 26 with 298 yards coming after contact. But Ingram’s percentage of yards after contact (49.8) ranked No. 6 in the league. Teammate Pierre Thomas was No. 5 at 50.1 percent and ranked No. 31 with 237 yards after contact.

The Carolina Panthers were the only NFC South team that did not fare well in yards after contact last season. DeAngelo Williams was No. 30 with 255 contact and quarterback Cam Newton was tied for No. 35 with 191 yards after contact.

But I think it’s likely Carolina’s yards after contact will increase because the Panthers are expected to use a more traditional running game to take advantage of the skills of Williams and Jonathan Stewart.