If I'm Dave Ragone and Arthur Smith, I develop an offensive strategy after the break to find a way to get the ball to Cordell Patterson as often as possible. Against the NYJ, the Falcons got him the ball 22 times on offense, for a 114 yard total (not counting a pass he threw and one kickoff return). This was probably done with some desperation as a result of the absence of Ridley and Gage in the offense. Against the WFT, with Ridley, Gage, and Pitts on the field, Patterson had 11 touches and 3 TD's. The Falcons need to get him the ball early, often, and in anyway possible. (Yes, leapfrog him over Davis, and he should be Ryan's new #1 option in the flat or wherever over Gage and Ridley.) I know Ryan prefers to spread the ball around, as most veteran QB's do, but Patterson is peaking. Get him the damned ball.
I'm not in the practices where they make such decisions, and I might not know as much about football as I think I do, but I don't see Cordell as a change-of-pace back. I see him going over the middle, going outside, and of course catching the ball out of the backfield and as a WR. The only thing I don't see, because I admittedly don't pay enough attention to such things is his blocking ability. (I have to imagine that the reason we don't see him more often is that his blocking skills are suspect.) If that is the reason, throw Davis in as a fullback.
Even after Ridley and Gage return to the fold, I want to see 20+ touches for Patterson. That's almost unheard of in today's NFL, I understand, but from what I've seen of Patterson he is a disruptor. Granted, his disruptions, or eruptions, occurred against the lowly WFT and NYJ, but he appears to be the ATL's best weapon right now.
How is it that it took Cordell Patterson nine years to reach a point where he is almost untackleable? We all know he is one of the best kick returners of all time, but how is it that no team has utilized Patterson in their offense the way the Falcons have this year. I watched some of his games in New England, Chicago, and Minnesota, and they lined him up all over the field, but he didn't have that many touches over the course of his nine years. Was this because, as his Wikipedia page implies, that there was always talent ahead of him? If that's the case, Patterson might have found a great one-year home in the ATL, as they don't have glaring talent ahead of him.
Prior to 2021, Patterson obviously showed something in practice, or these teams wouldn't have lined him up as RB and WR. They relegated him to a kick returner who would be a nice change-of-pace back. Now that Patterson is having a breakout year, nine years into his career, the questions are: Did these offensive minds not see enough, were they blinded by the talent before him, or did Patterson not show enough?
He was always an excellent kick returner with enough intangibles to try him out in the offense, as a novelty option. In 2021, something happened. Either Patterson fits the Falcons scheme better than he did on his previous teams, the ATL's desperation for quality carries is greater than those other teams, or he sees that his better years are behind him, and he just gets it now better than he ever did before. Whatever the case is, if he keeps this up, he has to be a shoe in for free agent pick up of the year.
Every year, game, and play in the NFL should be played with a certain level of desperation. The teams that win most often in the NFL shake up rosters, regardless signings or perceived talent, to make sure that their chances of winning increase. The current desperation in the ATL suggests that the Mike Davis signing has not work out as planned. He might prove to be an excellent cog in the machine throughout the course of the year, but he isn't right now. The NFL demands that Smith and Ragone just win baby! Win now by whatever means necessary, and from what I've seen over the course of this young year, Patterson's skillset demands the ball at least 20 times a game. Make Patterson RB1 and Davis RB2, or line Davis up as a quasi fullback and feed both. Smith and Ragone need to sit down and figure out how to get Patterson the ball as often as possible, and they shouldn't be afraid to insult Davis, Ridley, or any of the other talent screaming for touches. They need to build on the WFT and NYJ games and experiment with a philosophical shakeup to win now.
<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>