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Falcons Training Camp 3 To Watch: Running Back


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Falcons Training Camp 3 To Watch: Running Back

As the Atlanta Falcons head towards training camp, Falcon Report highlights three players at running back to monitor in the preseason

Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smithlikes to run the football. While you’d be hard pressed to find many play callers across the NFL who don’t, Smith takes the affinity to a different level.

While Atlanta’s second-year coach found having success on the ground much more difficult without Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry, don’t think Smith will be discouraged from handing the ball off in 2022.

The Falcons’ running backs room underwent a bit of change during the offseason, with the team releasing Mike Davis, signing Damien Williams and drafting Tyler Allgeier. Atlanta also converted former defensive back and return specialist Avery Williams to running back following the draft. 

 

Perhaps the biggest development of the open period was the return of star “wide back” Cordarrelle Patterson, who enjoyed a rare breakout campaign in his age 30 season.

Patterson is sure to start training camp atop Atlanta’s depth chart, but with two new faces slotted in directly behind him, isn’t guaranteed to maintain the top spot throughout the season. 

With training camp starting on July 26, here are three players to watch at running back.

Tyler Allgeier

Patterson's biggest competitor for the starting job comes in the form of the 5-11, 221-pound Allgeier, a fifth-round pick out of Brigham Young. Entering his first camp, Allgeier has the expectations of an early-round pick from the team's coaches, according to NFL Network.

 

"They have such high expectations out of him because, again, after selecting him in the fifth round, they cut last year’s starter Mike Davis who’s now with the Ravens ... Now they have a running back they feel can be the bell cow to get that going and to give some relief to Cordarrelle Patterson.”

Day 3 of the NFL Draft has a strong history of producing starting caliber running backs. Over the last several years, players such as James Robinson (Jaguars), Aaron Jones (Packers) and Chris Carson (Seahawks) have gone either in rounds 4-7 or signed after the draft

With camp on the horizon, Allgeier has a chance to add his name to that list. While he'll likely enter primarily working with the second string, Allgeier should eventually receive a considerable workload down the stretch of his rookie campaign. The battle for him now becomes how quickly he can become acquainted to NFL speed and strength, starting next week.

Avery Williams

Like Allgeier, Williams was a fifth-round pick from the Northwest, hailing from Boise State. However, the parallels for the two ends there. Williams played nickel corner for the Falcons as a rookie, while also handling the team's punt and kick return duties.

After impressing with the ball in his hands as a returner and going through growing pains defensively, Atlanta's staff opted to move Williams to the offensive of the ball for OTAs. Early returns from the team's coaches are positive, with praise going from speed to work ethic and everything in between.

"Vision, ball security, elusiveness, all those things will help him on the offensive side," special teams coordinator Marquice Williams said. "He also has an edge to him from being a defender. He also knows how defenders want to attack ball carriers and he can use that against the opposition.”

Williams hasn't played offense since high school, but his experience as a returner has prepared him to read gaps and leverage in a timely manner. While he'll likely see most of his work on special teams, camp provides an opportunity to see exactly how Williams can be utilized on offense, whether it's strictly as a scat back or in more of a traditional role.

 

Cordarrelle Patterson

The Falcons took a shot in the dark on Cordarrelle Patterson last offseason and he quickly turned into one of the league's best value deals. Playing on a one-year, $3 million contract, Patterson became the first player in franchise history to record both 500 rushing and receiving yards, posting career highs in rushing (618) and receiving (548) yards.

The 31-year-old Tennessee star's playmaking ability was on full display, and he's carved out a clear role in the Falcons' offense. With Smith promising to move Patterson around in year two, it's possible he receives fewer carries, but should remain one of Atlanta's top offensive weapons.

The question Patterson now must answer is whether or not he can replicate the success of his 2021 season. Despite the Patriots and Bears trying to use him in a similar role at previous stops, Patterson didn't find his groove until reaching Atlanta.

Further, after a hot start, Patterson posted fewer than 30 rushing yards and two receptions in each of his final four appearances. Patterson must now silence doubters surrounding the ability to repeat and sustain his prior campaign, a journey that starts on July 26

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On 7/23/2022 at 10:44 PM, HASHBROWN3 said:

 

 

 

Cordarrelle Patterson

 Patterson became the first player in franchise history to record both 500 rushing and receiving yards, posting career highs in rushing (618) and receiving (548) yards.

 

Am I reading this wrong?  William Andrews did that 3 successive years.   (over 1k rushing in 2 of those 3)

Devonte Freeman  once.  Sure there were some others.

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32 minutes ago, takeitdown said:

Am I reading this wrong?  William Andrews did that 3 successive years.   (over 1k rushing in 2 of those 3)

Devonte Freeman  once.  Sure there were some others.

I didn’t write the article & don’t have time to research it much. Too busy. I’ll take your word for it.

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39 minutes ago, takeitdown said:

Am I reading this wrong?  William Andrews did that 3 successive years.   (over 1k rushing in 2 of those 3)

Devonte Freeman  once.  Sure there were some others.

1981

Rushing: 1301  Receiving: 735

1982

Rushing: 573  Receiving: 503

1983

Rushing: 1567  Receiving: 609

 

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/A/AndrWi00.htm

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On 7/23/2022 at 11:07 PM, gazoo said:

Allgeier is going to light it up straight out of the gate this year. He’s a thoroughbred, he’s going to acclimate immediately and fans are going to love him.

This is my hope right here.  Damien Williams the first off the pines.

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18 minutes ago, Boise Falcon Fan said:

I have been telling people the same. He’s going to shock people. 

Allgeier was the primary weapon on BYUs offense, and despite defenses he faced knowing this and game planning to stop him, they couldn’t. His production was absolutely phenomenal for two straight years.

He scored an amazing 46 TDs in his last two seasons, 13 TDs two years ago and 23 TDs last year. And defenses knew he was coming.

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2 hours ago, gazoo said:

Allgeier was the primary weapon on BYUs offense, and despite defenses he faced knowing this and game planning to stop him, they couldn’t. His production was absolutely phenomenal for two straight years.

He scored an amazing 46 TDs in his last two seasons, 13 TDs two years ago and 23 TDs last year. And defenses knew he was coming.

 

9 minutes ago, Artys Arryn said:

No doubt. Was my RB3 for most of the pre-draft. Kid is going to be RB1 out the gate.

I sincerely hope so...I need someone to release me from my pining for Javonte Williams...

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16 minutes ago, Falconcheff said:

 

I sincerely hope so...I need someone to release me from my pining for Javonte Williams...

We’ve needed a big bell cow bruiser for a long time. If he does what I think he’s going to do we will all be thrilled and relieved. 

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