He was once of the NFL’s best running backs, but the Devonta Freeman era with the Atlanta Falcons is quickly ending.
The Atlanta Falcons need to face reality. Through two games, the run game has been a major struggle for the team. The Falcons rank 28th in the NFL in rushing. They are averaging 65 rushing yards per game. It’s time for Dan Quinn and Dirk Koetter to make a change at the running back position.
Despite Devonta Freeman being signed through the 2022 season, the Atlanta Falcons need to find a new role for him or find a team to trade with. However, that will be easier said than done. The 2014 draft pick has battled knee issues and multiple concussions throughout his NFL career. This will make finding a trade partner difficult.
Time for Ito Smith to Take Over
As each week passes, it’s more obvious that Ito Smith needs to be the starting running back. Ito is averaging 6.3 yards per carry, compared to Freeman’s 2.2 yards per carrying. Ito’s longest rush is 28 yards and Devonta’s longest is nine yards. However, the next two stats exemplify why Ito Smith needs to be starting.
First, Ito Smith has yet to fumble the ball. Second, Devonta Freeman has two rushes that have resulted in a first down. Smith has five rushes resulting in a first down. This second stat displays how dependable Ito Smith is when his number is called.
These two games are only a small sample size; however, if anyone has watched the Atlanta Falcons the past two seasons, it’s very clear that Ito Smith is the better running back. He is more patient and has the ability to make more explosive plays.
It’s sad, but it seems safe to say that Devonta Freeman’s best days are behind him. Being an NFL running back is a brutal job and usually only lasts a few years.
The magic number for running back decline is typically 30 years old, and Freeman is only 27. That being said, it’s time for the 2014 fourth-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons to hand the torch to the 2018 fourth-round pick. It’s Ito time in the ATL.