The Falcons rushing attack has been one of the worst in the league. Nobody really escapes blame for that—not the offensive line, not the backs, not Arthur Smith himself—but it’s a persistent problem and a thorny one for a coach who wants to run the ball on early downs.
There’s no easy solution to it, especially when the line is such a limiting factor. That’s not going to stop Smith and company from trying to find something—anything—to give them a lift, and that might include more carries for Qadree Ollison.
Arthur Smith said Qadree Ollison ran a pretty physical game last Thursday, and "he's earned the right for more carries."— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) November 24, 2021
What that will actually look like in practice is anyone’s guess, but it’ll be nice to see Ollison get any kind of real run. He was buried on the depth chart in the Dirk Koetter era and wound up cut and on the practice squad after a solid summer under the new regime. He had a pair of nice carries against the Patriots—one of the few highlights we saw in that game—and figures to have a role to step into if Cordarrelle Patterson is out in particular. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s simply flexed to the roster again this week or if the team considers making him a part of the 53 man roster going forward, though notably Arthur Smith did not say “we’re giving him more carries against the Jaguars.”
Ollison would be an affordable re-signing if he proves to be a good fit for the offense, so getting him a longer look makes plenty of sense to me. As Locked on Falcons podcast host and Falcoholic columnist Aaron Freeman notes, however, it’s unlikely any back is going to come in and have a ton of success with the run plays being called behind a line that simply has not blocked well throughout the season.
#Falcons RB success rates:— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) November 24, 2021
Gallman - 39.1%
Patterson - 39.0%
Davis - 37.5%
Ollison - 33.3%
My “favorite” thing now with Arthur Smith talking about giving Ollison more work is how this team keeps pretending that if they find the right RB the run game will start working.
We’ll see what kind of role Ollison steps into and what he does with it, and we’ll be rooting for good things.