In the last quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, RB Antone Smith had his breakout regular season debut with a 50-yard rushing touchdown. He pushed the Atlanta Falcons’ rushing total to 731 yards this season, scraping the Falcons out of the gutter and into to 31st in the league.
This may not seem like much to praising, but this year’s squad has had very little to cheer for. Smith’s breakout touchdown puts two things into perspective. The first being: do the coaches know how to use the players effectively? Second, what will his impact be going forward?
Let’s go in depth about the first point. The Falcons coaches have had their fair share of not using players correctly and putting them on the bench because of another player, even if the benched player outperforms the player that’s playing. Falcons fans should remember seeing Antone Smith in the preseason and he did outstandingly well, better than RB Steven Jackson who’s been struggling this entire year as far as running the ball effectively, which was shown in the preseason after RT Mike Johnson left.
Another thing that is troublesome for Falcons fans to watch is CB Asante Samuel play over CB Robert Alford. Alford and Trufant are a dynamic duo of young cornerbacks and Samuel is either injured or getting burned. It seems like the veterans this year are often blowing coverages and doing what the rookies should be doing but hey, it’s not my call. My thing is that Asante should be playing better than he is and is toe-to-toe with the rookie Alford.
The second point is what will Smith’s impact be. The first thing to look at is that the Falcons have the potential to have three or four running backs, which is crazy. They should switch up between Smith , Jackson, and Jaquizz Rodgers, giving all three a chance to snatch the starting job.
If the Falcons use the speedster Smith, the offense can call more running plays and use passing plays less than they normally do. This offense needs to be unpredictable, seeing the type of weapons that they have in the backfield. Then the wide receivers and Tony Gonzalez can be ready for a big break out play and them boom! Touchdown!
But will Coach Mike Smith and his offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter do this? Or will the offensive line just not open up holes and get in the way? These two questions seem like they are more probable to happen sadly, but this is the NFL and you never know. The phrase, “any given Sunday,” can be relatable…but in this case “any given Thursday,” is more acceptable.
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