Jerious Norwood is done for the year. Now what? First, a review of what the Birds still have:
- Michael Turner struggled to find space against Pittsburgh, but looked like 2008 Turner against Arizona, running for 75 yards on nine carries. He left early due to a minor injury, but was cleared to return. Coaches decided to play it safe and hold him out of the blowout victory. There has been talk this offseason of Turner becoming more of a receiving threat, which would help fill the vacancy left by Norwood. He only has one catch so far this year.
- Jason Snelling is one of three finalists for this week’s FedEx Ground Player of the Week award after gaining 186 total yards and three touchdowns against Arizona. In last year’s week-seventeen game against Tampa Bay, he ran for 168 total. Though he lacks Norwood’s explosiveness, he’s an excellent receiver and pass blocker and has also played fullback and wildcat point man.
- Antone Smith was an undrafted free agent out of Florida State in 2009. He’d been on the Falcons’ practice squad since last October before making the final cut this year, likely in anticipation of an injury to Turner or Norwood. He’s much more squirty than the one-cut Turner or Snelling, so he’ll be expected to fill some of Norwood’s open-space role.
- Ovie Mughelli is a very good blocking fullback who has 20 carries in his Atlanta career. However, five of them came all in last week, so the team has obviously considered using him more as a ball-carrier to spell Snelling.
With the addition of Smith, plus experience at dealing with life without Norwood, we’re better prepared than we were last year.
In just a few minutes, a list of backs the team could sign as early as today.