The Falcons new and improved running backs corps is unique, to say the least. Each player possesses specific abilities, the sum of which can help this team win games. Yet some are really questioning the decision to keep 5 running backs on the team. If you count Brady Ewing, there's technically 6 backs. We'll touch on that later.
Let's start with Antone Smith. As special teams aces go, he's the bee's knees. He's appeared in 34 regular season games for the Falcons on special teams, but logged only 1 carry ... for negative yardage. What does that mean? It means that you can call him a running back all you want, but he's not going to carry the ball for the Falcons. Sure, he had a few opportunities in the preseason, but that's hardly worth reading into. In practice, he's not a running back, he's a special teamer.
In my mind, it was never a camp battle between Smith and Josh Vaughan. Vaughan just had to show the team he is capable of pounding the rock. And that he did, in awe-inspiring fashion. Vaughan probably won't see a ton of carries, but he's got talent, and it's talent the Falcons will hopefully be able to use. With all that said, his presence on the 53 man roster may be unnecessary with Jason Snelling around.
Snelling always just seems to be on the cusp of something great. He has these fantastic runs, then he disappears for weeks on end. His opportunities are far and few between, especially with Jacquizz Rodgers running over people left and right. But what were the Falcons supposed to do? Cut him?
Accounting for the dead money he'd represent if cut, the Falcons only stood to garner about half a million dollars by ridding themselves of Snelling. You also have to account for his ability to play fullback. Brady Ewing is an unknown commodity at this point, but we know Snelling can play fullback in a pinch. Patrick DiMarco can also play fullback, but don't tell me it's more practical to keep Ewing and DiMarco than it is to keep Ewing and Snelling. Because it isn't. So there!
All in all, I don't think this is the worst decision the team could've made. There's a definite strategy at work here. And when you look at the six backs on this roster, keep in mind they're actually 3 running backs, one special teams ace, one running back/full back hybrid, and a full back. Just saying.