Falcons: After the best season of his career, is Cordarrelle Patterson in line for regression?

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Cordarrelle Patterson‘s 2021 season was a marvel. After being relegated to special teams and gadget roles in New England and Chicago, Arthur Smith and Dave Ragone gave Patterson a full-time spot in the offense. His numbers certainly benefited, as Patterson set career highs in receiving, rushing, and total touchdowns — 618 rushing yards (4.0 YPC), six rushing touchdowns, 548 receiving yards (10.5 YPR) and five receiving touchdowns.

The Falcons re-signed Patterson to a very palatable two-year deal worth $10.5 million, but it’s fair to wonder if the 31-year-old entering his 10th NFL season will take a step back in 2022. Patterson is coming off a season where he recorded the best numbers of his career; however, that also means he had the most offensive touches of his career too, which certainly takes a toll on the body. It seems the Falcons are already taking steps to address those issues too, as they’ve implement personalized offseason training for the veteran.

This is very commonplace in today’s NFL. Instead of forcing veterans to participate in every offseason activity, teams elect to have their older players undergo individual training to prolong the players’ bodies. Having them bang heads during the offseason in meaningless training camp reps isn’t conducive to longevity. Nowadays, offseason training activities are more for younger players, who still have to learn how to be professional football players. This is a wise decision by the organization.

Given the running back additions, I think Patterson is in line for regression. Atlanta added Tyler Allgeier, Damien Williams, and Avery Williams to the backfield this offseason, so I wouldn’t be shocked if Patterson’s role shrinks in 2022. The team just won’t have to depend on him as much, so his touches should drop. Add in the fact that the Falcons clearly want to keep him fresh all year; again, his numbers will suffer. His final four games of the 2022 season were an example of exactly what that type of burnout can do to a player; that four-game stretch was quite atypical compared to how he’d done all year, which could’ve been due to the massive workload. I’d expect about 100 yards less receiving and rushing as well as a significant drop-off in total touchdowns this season.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

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