He May Be The Third Option, But Don't Count Out Jason Snelling Yet

USA TODAY Sports

Fact: Jason Snelling pities the fool who undervalues him

Poor Jason Snelling [insert sad face] ...

I find myself feeling bad for him more often than I probably should. After all, he is a professional football player. He does get paid to play a game. But you wonder if he'd find the field more often on a different team.

While his numbers won't blow a leaf away, Snelling doesn't get many opportunities. He logged just 18 carries in 2012. That doesn't seem like much, and it really isn't, but it's not the complete picture. First, the Falcons used him at fullback a fair amount. Second, he was featured more prominently in the passing game. He caught 31 passes, accumulating over 200 receiving yards.

The curious part about Snelling's role with the Falcons is undoubtedly the gradual reduction in carries he's endured. His carries have decreased every year since 2009 (from 142 to 87 to 44 to 18). None of us are on the Falcons coaching staff, but if you asked me to make sense of that, I'd find a corner, assume the fetal position, and cry myself to sleep. All kidding aside, it's really not that complicated. Michael Turner missed much of 2009, and the Falcons were still a run-first team at that point. Since then, Jacquizz Rodgers became a Falcon. Call it bad luck or call it happenstance, Snelling probably won't ever be a feature back.

The market wasn't kind to Snelling following the 2011 season. He tested it, and he found that the league as a whole, or at least the teams in need of help at running back, weren't particularly interested. Does that mean he's no good? Absolutely not. It means he's a role player. No need for a spoiler alert here, that's how the Falcons use him. He runs the ball on occasion, he can catch some passes, and he can play fullback in a pinch. In a league where your third running back is usually a marginal talent, you could certainly do worse.

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