Every week before the Falcons game, I'll be selecting one player to keep an especially close eye on. This week, it's running back Jerious Norwood.
Embattled isn't a strong enough word for Jerious Norwood.
Many fans are convinced he's become an injury prone back. Some analysts are convinced Jason Snelling will be Michael Turner's backup by the time the season starts. It's fair to wonder how opinion could turn so quickly on Norwood, a guy who we all wanted more involved in the offense since he was first drafted in the year 1937.
The Falcons clearly want Norwood to succeed, though. He's still our fastest back by a wide margin, unless you count Antone Smith as a viable alternative. While I like his talent, I'm not convinced he's going to stick on the final roster just yet. So we've got Norwood, a moderately fast Turner and a lumbering Snelling, and simply put the Falcons could use all the help they can get throwing off opposing defenses. If Norwood was an effective second option, it would go a long way.
So while I don't expect him to get a considerable number of carries, you're going to want to watch what Norwood does with them. He can't afford to get nicked up again. He can't afford to look tentative or bounce around inside the tackles too much. He can't afford anything that makes him look like he should be on a lower rung than Snelling. It's an opportunity for him to show that the coaching staff's faith in him is not misplaced.
So keep your eyeballs on Jerious Norwood, folks.