With the addition of Devonta Freeman, a healthy Steven Jackson, Mike Tice's strong jawline, and a re-tooled offensive line, it's easy to get excited about the Falcons' running game again. I think we're all expecting a much more balanced approach on offense; an approach that will take some of the pressure off Matt Ryan and making him more efficient in the process. But as Vaughn McClure points out, we may be jumping the gun.
Even if the Falcons come out running in the preseason, I won't believe in such balance until I see it during a meaningful game. I won't subscribe to it until I see a conscious effort to run the ball in the first quarter or on first down.
This all comes down to game planning. At some point, dry erase marker in hand, Mike Smith will sit down with his coaches. They will talk about their opponent(s), crunch some numbers, and collectively decide how to move forward.
I wouldn't expect a static approach all season. If anything, they will adjust, based on the circumstances. Do I think they will run a lot more this year? Yes. But I tend to agree with Vaughn, because I just don't see them defaulting to their 2008 approach. They won't be pounding Jackson into the ground. Ryan is too close to elite status and the receiving duo of Roddy White/Julio Jones are too good to justify that.