Brian Hill has had to battle for everything in his short NFL career. He’s had to battle for practice squad spots, a handful of touches, and now a roster spot with the Falcons, who have Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith and added rookie Qadree Ollison and versatile veteran Kenjon Barner to the group this spring. To beat those odds—and some of those players—Hill had to know this summer would be absolutely critical.
That’s why it’s awesome to see Hill tackling the holes the team had identified in his game, with visible results here in the early going of training camp.
Dan Quinn says Brian Hill’s pass-catching ability has gone from a weakness to a “strength.” Hill caught a touchdown pass in today’s scrimmage. #Falcons— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) July 28, 2019
The big draw for Hill all along has been his running style, which is aggressive and physical and was impressive in his limited opportunities last year with Atlanta. If he’s also polished his route running and hands this offseason, it helps him immensely with a coaching staff likely to prize versatility for its reserves at running back. It’s one thing to hear “so and so is in the best shape of their life” heading into camp, and another to see a specific action item addressed by a player battling for a spot. Hill will need to build on this in game action and fare better as a runner than Smith and/or Ollison, but he’s got to be feeling good about the vote of confidence from Quinn.
Hill’s guaranteed nothing, which he certainly knows. But even with Ollison’s obvious leg up as a draft pick with new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, Hill will get a real shot at a role if he can show he’s a more complete back. Here’s hoping.