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What Is The Ideal Carry Split For The Falcons' Four-Headed Running Back?

The team has four capable backs. How should they split up their carries?

Kevin C. Cox

As we head into this weekend's late game against the Minnesota Vikings, it's worth re-visiting the human hydra the Falcons are rolling out at running back.

These days, not many teams have workhorse backs, and the Falcons are no exception to that rule. They've found a happy medium by spreading out carries and giving all four guys on the depth chart shots at carries, and they're averaging over 4 yards a carry as a result. It's far from the league's strongest ground game, but it's certainly a big step up over 2012 and 2013.

Currently, here's the total number of carries and percentage of carries each back has. We're throwing out Devin Hester's reverse and Matt Ryan's scrambles here.

Steven Jackson: 37 carries, 51%
Jacquizz Rodgers: 16 carries, 23%

Devonta Freeman: 13 carries, 18%
Antone Smith: 6 carries, 8%

Going forward, it's important to retain some sort of balance. Steven Jackson runs tough but isn't the back he used to be, so using him in the Michael Turner memorial role would be a mistake. Devonta Freeman is only going to get better as he picks up the game.

Ideally, I'd split the carries like this, at least until Freeman earns the coaching's staff's trust. At that point, I'd have him slice carries away from both Rodgers and Jackson, because he's still the best bet to handle a bigger workload and do something with it. In the meantime, get the ball in Antone Smith's hands, damnit.

Steven Jackson: 50%
Antone Smith: 20%
Jacquizz Rodgers: 15%
Devonta Freeman: 15%

Expect the Falcons to still give Jackson plenty of carries to try to wear down an underrated Minnesota defensive front, especially if Smith's hamstring injury keeps him out for this one. For another take on the running back corps and a potential controversy over snaps brewing, check out Ben Grazebrook's take at Blogging Dirty. How do you expect the carries to shake out going forward?