Falcons could keep Feleipe Franks around for this one specific role in 2023

Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Feleipe Franks did not exactly have a great season for the Atlanta Falcons following his switch from quarterback to tight end. He clearly wasn't ready for the transition and it resulted in a lot of fans asking why he was even on the team the entire year, and for good reason.

However, Arthur Smith could end up seeing him as a valuable piece to the offense in short-yardage situations, that is, if Smith decides to steal the play the Philadelphia Eagles spammed last season with Jalen Hurts.

Feleipe Franks could have value for the Falcons as the QB for the 'Jalen Hurts play'

Nick Sirrianni, Jalen Hurts, and the Philadelphia Eagles deployed a genius play call during the 2022 season. When the offense needed a couple of yards they would simply put Hurts under center, line a couple of players up behind him, and at the snap of the ball, Hurts would push forward while being pushed from behind—it was virtually unstoppable.

The NFL is a copycat league, and quite frankly, I don't know why it takes a full offseason for the other coaches to put this play in their playbook. It is basically one small adjustment to a play that every team has in their playbook—the QB sneak—yet, only now, are coaches saying they will call the play.

There was talk that it would end up being banned this offseason, but that has quickly been kicked to the curb as they aren't pursuing the ban.

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Anyways, Atlanta Falcons head coach and offensive play caller, Arthur Smith, seems like the type of coach that would install this play into his playbook, don't be surprised when we see it in week one.

However, do you really want your starting quarterback—presumably Desmond Ridder—to be the one that gets sandwiched in between hundreds of pounds of full-grown men? Why not put a player out there like, let's say, Feleipe Franks? With all due respect to him as a person, I think Franks is a little more expendable than Ridder is.

Franks also has a body type that can generate much more power. Sure, he probably doesn't squat 600 pounds as Hurts does, but he is taller (which you could argue is a disadvantage in this situation) and heavier. With Ridder, he is an inch shorter than Franks and almost 40 pounds lighter. If you want to have the highest success rate, then Feleipe Franks is the guy to put out there on this specific play. He also has experience taking snaps.

Coaches aren't likely to designate one player for one play, but with the QB push sneak play, who cares if the defense knows? In no way, shape, or form, is this play contingent on catching the defense off guard. Sirianni could have relayed the play call to the opposing defensive coordinator and it would not have mattered one bit. Defenses knew it was coming and they were rarely able to stop it.

Honestly, any coach that doesn't implement this play—assuming they have someone other than their starting quarterback running it or they are confident that their starter can avoid injury—is downright dumb. You play to make first downs and touchdowns and if there is an unstoppable play, why wouldn't you run it?

With all that being said, I do think that Franks will end up being cut. After all, is keeping a player around for one play, let alone designation as a 'gameday active,' worth it? Probably not, especially when you have a player like Cordarrelle Patterson who can do just about anything.

Feleipe Franks is likely on his way out the door unless Arthur Smith is completely sold on him as a player who can develop into a legit weapon at tight end. Franks landing the role as the QB for the 'push the QB' play will likely depend on him showing progress elsewhere.

Before I end this I just have to say, how in the world did it take 17 years for a coach to come up with this play? The NFL rescinded the ban on pushing players in 2005 and you are meaning to tell me that it took until 2022 for a coach to think 'hey, maybe we have our quarterback run a QB sneak with two guys pushing him from behind?' It is really crazy to think.

I know a lot of people hate the play, but for me personally, I love it. My favorite plays in football are the ones where players show their pure strength and physicality. Nothing got me more hyped last season than watching Tyler Allgeier drive his legs while Kaleb McGary and co. are pushing him for an extra five yards. Or when Cordarrelle Patterson just simply runs over a linebacker on his way for a touchdown—to me, that is football, and what makes it better than the other major sports. Although, the long-term effects on players certainly aren't worth it, but that is a different discussion for a different time.

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