Unless you’ve been hiding under rock, you’re aware the Falcons poached former Titans OC, Arthur Smith, to replace Raheem Morris as the head coach. Smith recently turned a Ryan Tannehill-led offense into one of the best in the NFL, and a large part of that was establishing the ground game with former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry.
The King rushed for over 2,000 yards this season, becoming just the eighth player in NFL history to do so, and while there isn’t another back like Henry in the league, Smith was key in unlocking his full potential. Before Smith became the OC in 2019, Henry had never even topped 1,100 yards in a season. With Smith, he won back-to-back rushing titles and just might have been the most valuable player in the league in 2020… even though I don’t know if they will ever give a running back the award again.
Basically, Henry went from just another guy to the best running back on the planet with Smith calling the shots, and the 2,000-yard man shared some high praise for his former coach.
The Falcons running game has essentially been non-existent since Kyle Shanahan departed after the 2016 season. From Steve Sarkisian’s infamous toss sweeps to Dirk Koetter’s all-around ineptitude, a spark has been needed in this area for quite a while. They should get that in multiple ways next season.
Not only will Arthur Smith add a refreshing new look to the offense, but the Falcons also will likely totally revamp their running back room. Todd Gurley and Brian Hill are free agents, leaving Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison as the only running backs left on the roster. We could see Atlanta take multiple players at the position during the draft, and perhaps even bring in another via free agency.
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