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Falcons’ backup running backs impress in preseason debut


The Falcons first-string running back, Steven Jackson, missed the preseason opener while nursing a hamstring injury, and Jacquizz Rodgers, who started in place of Jackson, struggled. But the Falcons liked what they saw of backup running backs Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith.

Freeman entered the game in the second quarter and had outstanding numbers, finishing with 50 yards on 10 carries, while also adding a 57-yard catch. Smith spent some time playing with the first-string offense, and although his numbers didn’t look impressive, he had two big plays (a 34-yard catch and a 76-yard touchdown run) called back by penalties. Falcons coach Mike Smith liked what he saw.

“Antone had some very explosive plays,” Smith said. “Antone’s a guy that can do some things when we get the ball in his hands. I would imagine we would want to make sure to help him get some touches, put him in an advantageous situation, but I was very impressed with him. I was impressed with Devonta Freeman, in terms of how he ran the ball for the most part. We did some positive things.”

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan loved watching what the backup running backs can do.

“There were two things that I was really excited about tonight,” Ryan said after the game. “One was Devonta Freeman. He played extremely well, watching from the sideline. Then, there was Antone Smith. Both of those plays got called back but he showed the explosiveness that he has and the speed that he can change a game on any given play. It was fun to watch.”

It may have been less fun for Jackson and Rodgers, who may have been watching their backups earn the opportunity to take carries away from them when the regular season starts.

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17 Responses to “Falcons’ backup running backs impress in preseason debut”
  1. lesterclan says: Aug 9, 2014 12:17 PM

    Wow! Did they watch the same game I did?! The Dolphins #1 offense rolled over the Falcons D and by the 2nd quarter they were on their THIRD string subs (who is Terrance Fede??). I guess you have to put a positive spin on things, but the Falcons look like they could be in trouble this season…

  2. samtheram says: Aug 9, 2014 12:17 PM

    Glad Steven exercised his option to go help another team!

  3. jimmy53 says: Aug 9, 2014 12:19 PM

    Both Smith and Freeman went to FSU—way to represent!

  4. Mr. Wright 212 says: Aug 9, 2014 12:23 PM

    Both FROM?

  5. beckzhere says: Aug 9, 2014 12:30 PM

    Smith and Freeman should be the starting backs. Jackson can’t stay healthy and Jacquizz is only a COP back.

  6. codythao35 says: Aug 9, 2014 12:51 PM

    Calm down you’re playing against the pathetic Fins and it’s only preseason. Fins can’t even stop my granny. Nothing special here.

  7. thelastpieceofcheese says: Aug 9, 2014 1:03 PM

    Falcons offense impressed? Are you serious? Falcons are in trouble if they can only score 16 points (while allowing 10) on the hapless Fins, the next to last worst team in the league.

  8. igotgamenj says: Aug 9, 2014 1:10 PM

    Miami Played 3 quarters with a rookie QB Seth Lobato …if Matt Moore was healthy would have been alot different outcome also 3rd sting QB Pat Devlin did not play

  9. 12brichandfamous says: Aug 9, 2014 1:11 PM

    Jacquizz Rogers can juke, jive, scoot, and scamper for no gain. His only similarity to Darren Sproles is his size.

  10. bigblu73 says: Aug 9, 2014 1:25 PM

    When I lived in ATL I had season tix to the Falcons, and they had a RB that reminds me a whole lot of Antone Smith. His name was Jerious Norwood. Flashed a whole lot during every preseason but it never translated regularly on Sundays. Hopefully for the Dirty Birds Smith will not be that kind of tease.

  11. gammynomnom says: Aug 9, 2014 2:10 PM

    The preseason: The Falcons Super Bowl

  12. reporterofthetruth says: Aug 9, 2014 2:14 PM

    7-9 tops

  13. basexc9 says: Aug 9, 2014 2:16 PM

    Lol. The Dolphins played almost the entire game with a 4th string undrafted free agent QB who they signed 2 weeks ago. They couldn’t stay on the field on offense.

  14. smartestpackerfan says: Aug 9, 2014 2:28 PM

    Even the Falcons have a two runningbacks better than Eddy “Chicken Nugget” Lacy. 😦

  15. largent80100 says: Aug 9, 2014 4:11 PM

    Preseason or not, they must step up given Jackson’s age and the lack of a running game.

    Anything that helps Ryan not throwing 50 passes/game is good for Atlanta.

  16. agnosticpantherfan says: Aug 9, 2014 5:30 PM

    Devonta Freeman is a bust and a Cam Newton wannabe

  17. mustangqb9 says: Aug 10, 2014 6:22 AM

    If Jackson is your top running back you’d want to be happy with your depth

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