Lack of backup option at RB could derail Falcons' playoff drive

Thomas Mott
August 06, 2019 - 12:37 am

© Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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Ready or Mott host, Thomas Mott dives into what he sees as the biggest offensive concern for the Atlanta Falcons this season.

The past two seasons Devonta Freeman has not played in 16 games, including last year where he only played in two games after the Philly game injury.  Freeman has always had Tevon Coleman as his 1-2 punch. Freeman cannot be a 250-plus carry guy a year like Zeke Elliot or Todd Gurley.  He has only done that once and it was four years ago in 2015.  It’s foolery to just expect Freeman to be healthy and dominant for 16 games. 

"There are legitimate concerns with Freeman not having Coleman to serve as his backup," said Mott.

The backups are a bunch of nobodies, adding to Thomas' concern.  Ito Smith is a sophomore running back with a 3.5 yard per carry average and averages 22 yards per game. Brian Hill can hardly stay on a starting roster and is averaging 11.4 yards per game and for his career has three catches in total. Quadree Ollison is the hope for the backup job, but looked bad in the Hall Of Fame game against third-stringers, and ran a 4.58 40. Ollison was the 10th-slowest out of running backs at the combine.

Finally, when you look around the league at other successful teams, the running game stands out as extremely important. Eight of the top 10 teams in rushing last year made the playoffs. The past three Super Bowl champions, New England Patriots (5th in rushing), Philadelphia Eagles (3rd in rushing), and then New England again (7th in rushing), all had top-10 rushing attacks. Fans only want to focus on Matt Ryan’s greatness or the need to cut down on sacks allowed, or if Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley can get pressure on the quarterback. These are all true.

However, we forget that in 2016 the Falcons were fifth in rushing, averaging 126 yards per game.

"We are at a point where Freeman will not be on the field every single down," said Mott. "This league is a running back by committee [league] and the Falcons committee looks pretty weak right now."

Mott continued: "[The] Falcons do not have a multiback system installed and the backups are unproven."