When the Falcons signed Cordarrelle Patterson last offseason, many expected his primary role to be special teams. I wisely predicted he’d set career-highs in every rushing statistic, but even that wasn’t enough for the former All-Pro. He had the best numbers of his career across the board. The Falcons’ investment in Patteson can only be seen as a resounding success for the front office, coaching staff, and Patterson himself.
The Falcons wisely brought Patterson back on a very palatable two-year deal but are taking a different approach with the veteran this offseason. The 31-year-old is entering his 10th season. 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 their bodies.
Patterson is coming off a season where he recorded the best numbers of his career, setting 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. However, that also means he had the most offensive touches of his career, which certainly takes a toll on the body. Having him bang heads during the offseason in meaningless training camp reps isn’t conducive to longevity.
Falcons fans should expect Patterson to assume a similar role to the one he had last season, and he might even be used more as a wide receiver if Tyler Allgeier proves to be capable of carrying the load, which the coaching staff seems confident he can do. One area that Patterson didn’t produce in was on special teams, where he cut his teeth as a pro.
As the Falcons reported to training camp Tuesday, the media got their first taste of this new team. And Patterson wasn’t short on quotable responses. The most notable one was his desire to get back to affecting games in the third phase, particularly on kick returns, with the goal being to break the NFL record for most kick return touchdowns.
Falcons’ Cordarrelle Patterson said he plans to return kicks this year — because he has a record to break.
If he gets another KR TD (his ninth, the all-time record) he would stop returning kicks voluntarily if they wanted him to.
Right now he’s tied with eight.
— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) July 26, 2022
Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington are both tied with Patterson at eight touchdowns for the league record. It’s awesome to see a veteran like Patterson still hungry to affect games anyway he can, but I doubt the coaching staff wants their second-best offensive weapon out on special teams taking unnecessary hits.
Patterson’s production took a noticeable dip in the latter half of the season, which could be partially attributed to the increased workload. To keep him fresh all year, the Falcons will limit his touches, including on special teams.
Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire
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