With the acquisitions of Guard James Carpenter, Guard Jamon Brown and Tight End Luke Stocker, the Atlanta Falcons have already drastically improved the run game.
Last season, the Atlanta Falcons were ranked 27th in the league in rushing. Rushing yards were hard to come by. A big part of the blame was on the offensive lines’ inability to open any type of hole for the running backs. With these signings, the Falcons have fixed the problems with the offensive line.
Brown is 6’4, 340 pounds. His size is an immediate upgrade for the Falcons. Along with his size, he brings power that will help open holes for the running backs. Carpenter is also a big dude. He is 6’5, 321 pounds. With his addition, much like Brown, the Falcons have added power to the offensive line.
Stocker is a blocking tight end, which will definitely help out the Falcons in the run game. Austin Hooper is a pretty good receiving tight end, making it to the Pro Bowl last season. However, his blocking ability leaves a lot to be desired. Signing Stocker improves the run blocking from the tight end position and also gives the Falcons more depth at the position.
Along with these additions, Falcons star running back Devonta Freeman will be back after missing almost all of last season with knee and groin injuries.
Freeman, when healthy, is a fantastic running back. His juking ability and power gives him the advantage against would be tacklers almost every time. With Freeman back and the emergence of Ito Smith as a capable number two, the rushing attack could cause a lot of problems for opposing defenses now that the offensive line has been restructured.
I think the Falcons made some great moves this week. The players signed may not be household names, but they should bring an immediate improvement to the run game. I’m hoping we get back to the days of the offensive line blowing defensive lineman off the ball, opening holes for Freeman to juke out defenders on his way for a touchdown.
I think Freeman will finish with over 1,000 yards and Ito Smith will be in the 600-700 yards range. With this combination and new look offensive line, don’t be surprised if the Falcons finish next season with a top ten rushing attack.