Patriots will attempt to expand Steven Jackson's role in offense

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran running back Steven Jackson played nine snaps in Sunday's loss to the New York Jets, and those numbers should be rising this week in the season finale against the Miami Dolphins.

"That will start just with the work week; Steven had really two days of practice last week so I think that it’s fair to say that we wanted to put him in a situation that was fair to him based on the preparation and the work that he had done prior to the game," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Tuesday. "This week will give us another three days of good work and experience and exposure to him, and for him to the offense, that will give us an opportunity to expand his role, hopefully during the course of the game on Sunday."

Jackson finished with seven carries for 15 yards against the Jets. A 7-yard run in the fourth quarter was arguably his best of the day.

If Jackson is worked more into the mix, it would give the coaching staff more flexibility to have Brandon Bolden return to some special-teams duties that he hasn't been a part of over the past two games.

Jackson, 32, is further along than most players would be in his position after playing under McDaniels with the St. Louis Rams in 2011.

"I have a comfort level with him. I think our offensive staff, we kind of know him better than anybody that comes off the street that we’ve never really been exposed to," McDaniels said. "Secondly, he’s certainly had exposure to the terminology and the verbiage that we use here so I think that that helps him to close the gap in terms of what he knows and what he doesn’t know. He’s well ahead of somebody that would come in here with zero experience in our system, and I think that would definitely help any new player that would come in at this point in time in the year."

As for what McDaniels has seen from Jackson, he said, "He’s a big guy [6-2, 240], he’s always run hard, and those traits serve you well in terms of making yards after contact, and hopefully that will continue to be a strength of his."