Falcons backfield features a budding friendship

dhr2304270089 2023 nfl draft

The Falcons just received the greatest rushing season by a rookie in franchise history, and it came from a fifth-round pick. Now, Tyler Allgeier will have to split carries with Bijan Robinson, who the club made the highest-drafted running back since Saquon Barkley went third overall in 2018.

Allgeier broke the single-season rushing record by a rookie, posting 1,035 yards in 2022. But this regime isn’t afraid to add to a strength, as Terry Fontenot has preached ad nauseam.

The new backfield in Atlanta is tough, explosive and features a budding new friendship among the youngsters. Despite directly competing with each other for reps, Allgeier and Robinson have displayed the type of character this Falcons team is attracted to.

“I shot him a text right when he got drafted,” Allgeier said, via Fox5’s Kelly Price, “and then it was like a day after, we ended up FaceTiming. Great guy,” said Allgeier about Robinson. “He’s obviously a great player on the field, but great player off the field. That’s the biggest thing for me – great guy.”

Now, everybody can hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but the facts are only one can carry the ball on any given play. However, it doesn’t quite matter.

In no way, shape, or form can Tyler Allgeier assume a cowbell-type role like Derrick Henry. The combination of Robinson and Allgeier will keep each one fresh and lengthen their careers. The Falcons ran the ball 559 times in 2022, with Allgeier handling 210 carries; there are plenty of opportunities to go around.

As good as Allgeier is and will be, he’s not as talented as Robinson as a runner or pass catcher. In addition, that receiving ability will give Arthur Smith the flexibility to have both of them on the field at the same time. They have different skill sets that Smtih will deploy in his positionless offense.

“Tyler is like someone that’s got a sledgehammer and wears you down,” Arthur Smith said. “But Bijan, his contact balance, the way he doesn’t go down and the way he’s able to get explosives off that, they’re just different, the way that people will have to tackle them.”

Allgeier even so brilliantly and originally came up with a new name for the duo.

“Thunder and lightning type,” said Allgeier. “It’s exciting, exciting times. But the running back position, the quarterback, we can’t do anything without the offensive line. We’re just excited for all those pieces to come together and this offense be explosive.”

No, it’s not the first thunder and lightning, and it won’t be the last. But could it be the best? Larry CsonkaMercury Morris, Jim TaylorPaul Hornung, Warrick DunnMike Alstott, Bo JacksonMarcus Allen, and Tyler Allgeier-Bijan Robinson — time will tell.

Photographer: Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire


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