Yeah, I'm going there, want to fight about it? You're going to read this, and you're going to like it, darnit. Then once you're finished reading, I'd like a chicken sandwich, and some waffle fries.
Like it or not, I'm officially looking ahead to 2014, with a healthy dose of 2013-specific context for good measure. Sure, there are still 5 weeks in the regular season, but why the heck not jump ahead a little? I'd like to talk about running backs. And I'd like to hammer home a point that's worth hammering. Simply stated, the Falcons won't need a new running back this off-season. Not through free agency, and not in the draft. This is true for at least 3 reasons.
First, there are too many other needs to address. More pressing needs that must be addressed if this team wants to stand a chance next season. For example, I'm told Mike Smith's safari hat is getting a little worn. The man needs a new one, preferably one with a neck strap. From the maligned offensive line to the pass rushless defensive line, Thomas Dimitroff and his merry band of scouts will have their work cut out for them. They won't have the luxury of drafting a running back, that's quite clear.
Second, the current stable of running backs is very talented. Steven Jackson finally looked like the bruiser we'd expected him to be in Thursday's loss to the Saints. In his only carry, Antone Smith drug a 300 pound defensive lineman 5 yards down the field. Meanwhile, the underrated duo of Jason Snelling and Jaquizz Rodgers have more than proven their worth. If anything, given that Snelling will represent half the dead money he represents in 2013 ($717,000) in 2014 ($358,000), the Falcons may elect to let him go. This would ultimately give them the ability to give Josh Vaughn some snaps. Can't hate on that.
Third, the Falcons' anemic rush attack has nothing to do with the running backs. Somewhere Michael Turner is sitting on a couch, downing his third box of Krispy Kremes, getting portlier by the minute, and feeling very redeemed. Turner's salary didn't help his cause, but it's hard not to wonder whether his regression might've been less dramatic with an even slightly more competent offensive line to run behind.