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Falcons No. 1 RB: Whose Job Is It, Anyway?

Head Coach Arthur Smith Says Veteran Mike Davis Will Get First-Team Reps in Training Camp, But ...

Arthur Smith led a potent Tennessee Titans offense as the offensive coordinator the past two seasons. He had a true No. 1 running back in Derrick Henry, a luxury he doesn't have in his first season in Atlanta.

When asked if he'd prefer to have a go-to guy or a running back by committee, Smith preferred to address the Falcons personnel, not a preference.

"I don't get into comparison," Smith said. "This is a completely different situation. We've got a few guys that we think can carry the football, and it's going to play itself out. We're going through now a 17-game regular season. We'll see who emerges.

Receiver-turned-running back Cordarrelle Patterson has been one of the early training-camp standouts, and Mike Davis was signed from the Carolina Panthers to be the presumed number one.

"Like we said when we first started camp, Mike [Davis] gets the first shot, and it's going to be competitive back there," Smith added. "We'll keep mixing and matching and those guys will fight it out the entire preseason and camp."

READ MORE: Falcons UDFA Is The "Most Talented Back On The Roster"

Undrafted free agent Javian Hawkins from Louisville is another player to keep an eye on this season. At 5-foot-9 and 196 pounds, he gives a different look than the stout Davis and bigger Patterson.

Hawkins rushed for 1,525 yards in 2019 for the Arizona Cardinals and pushed his average per carry up from 5.8 to 6.2 yards in eight games in 2020. With only 399 carries in college, there's not a lot of mileage on Hawkins.

The Titans under Smith had the league's second-best rushing attack behind only the Baltimore Ravens. While Smith won't have Henry to lean on, there are several backs on the roster that will help improve a Falcons running game that finished 27th in 2020. 

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