The Atlanta Falcons left New Orleans as the winners but left with some injuries in tow. Devonta Freeman, the starting running back for the Atlanta Falcons, got banged up and, reportedly, will miss a couple of weeks, giving Brian Hill a golden opportunity to show the NFL what he’s capable of.
When Devonta Freeman went down in the Saints game, it looked pretty dire from the fans’ perspective. Luckily, for Freeman and Falcons fans’, the injury proved to be a minor foot sprain that will keep the running back sidelined for a couple of weeks. With Freeman due to miss the next couple of games, Brian Hill will have a great chance to make his mark on this Falcons offense.
It’s safe to assume Brian Hill will be the starting running back when the Falcons take the field this Sunday to face off with the Carolina Panthers. Hill will be backed up by Kenjon Barner and Qadree Ollison. While Barner is the kickoff return man and Ollison has yet to see the field this season, the lion share of the Falcons rushing attack will be on Brian Hill for the next two weeks. After being a backup for his entire time in the NFL, Sunday will be Brian Hill’s first start.
Up to this point in Hill’s career, he’s been a glorified “change of pace” running back, meaning he comes into the game when the offense wants to give the defense a different look. Last week, when he rushed the ball 20 times, was his career-high in rushing attempts. Before the Saints game, Hill had never rushed the ball more than 10 times in a game. In the Carolina game, Hill will get his first, real chance to prove whether he can be a starting running back in the NFL.
In the New Orleans game, the Falcons did an incredible job of balancing the offense between their passes and rushes. Hill was a big part of that, carrying the ball 20 of the 34 times the Falcons ran the ball. If the Falcons want to build on their success of last week, the team will need to prioritize the run, similar to what they did this past Sunday. With Hill making his first start, he will want to make a statement to show he belongs among the starting running backs in the NFL. For the Falcons to win on Sunday, they will need a productive day from Brian Hill.