And he made that very clear today when the team released running back Qadree Ollison in a surprising move and signed running back Wayne Gallman.
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Gallman Adds More Experience to the Backfield
Ollison, a former fifth-round draft selection in 2019, spent the last two years as a backup running back on the Falcons’ 53-man roster. He showed some flashes of talent but was never consistent enough to make his way up the depth chart. Entering his third NFL season, he was finally going to get more touches as Mike Davis’s primary backup––or so we thought.
In 11 career games with Atlanta, Ollison rushed 23 times for 53 yards and four touchdowns. We’ll see if the Falcons bring him back to the practice squad.
As for Gallman, he adds more veteran experience to the Falcons’ backfield. Just last season he was forced to step up for the New York Giants after they lost Saquon Barkley to a torn ACL. Gallman recorded a career-high of 682 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns on 4.6 yards per carry as the Giants’ lead back. In four seasons, the former fourth-round pick has totaled 338 career carries and 80 receptions.
Gallman became a free agent at the end of last season and the San Francisco 49ers picked him up for the offseason but he failed to make the final roster. While Ollison will be missed, Gallman certainly adds more promising stability to a backfield that’s been lackluster for years.
Mike Davis as Atlanta’s RB1
After former Georgia Bulldog Todd Gurley failed to live up to expectations last season, the Falcons didn’t bring him back. He rushed for a disappointing 678 yards on 195 attempts (3.5 yards per carry), however, he did have nine touchdowns.
But the Falcons turned to Mike Davis instead. While filling in for the injured Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey last fall, Davis racked up over 1,000 all-purpose yards. And experts believe that the 28-year-old could top those numbers playing under Arthur Smith’s system.
Aside from Davis, the Falcons also signed running back/return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason.
At 30 years old, Patterson has earned himself first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors four different times as a kick returner and has been named to second-team All-Pro honors twice in his career. Just last season he led the NFC in kick return average with 29.1, which qualifies as the second-highest in the league behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers.
In eight seasons thus far, Patterson has played in 127 games and recorded 216 receptions for 2,087 yards and 10 touchdown catches. He has also rushed for 167 career carries for 1,017 yards adding eight more touchdowns on the ground.
It’ll be interesting to see what Smith ends up doing with the addition of Gallman behind these two.