Cracking the Cordarrelle code: What to expect from Cordarrelle Patterson in second season with Falcons

Arthur Smith was very clear when he explained why Cordarrelle Patterson was inactive in mandatory minicamp.

“Cordarrelle Patterson is working on a rehab program to build him up to be ready for July 26,” Smith said. “He is here, he wanted to work, myself and our performance staff, we have a different plan for Cordarrelle, so I don’t want to put him on for two days. I need him to be ready to go on July 26.”

It was a good move on Smith’s part to explain Patterson’s absence right off the bat, and it’s an explanation that makes sense. The Falcons don’t need Patterson right now. They will arrive in the first week of the season, which is why there is no need to push them physically during the season. And so his lack of presence on the field for two days in June is not an issue, in my mind, when you think about the magnitude of his general role in Atlanta.

So, what is that role? Honestly, look to 2021, when the Falcons finally crack the Cordarrelle Code.

Over the nearly decade of his major league career, Patterson has been used as an offensive weapon like never before. He carried the ball 153 times in 2021, amassing more than 600 rushing yards and six touchdowns. By comparison, Patterson’s next highest number of carries came in 2020, when he carried the ball 64 times.

As a receiver, Patterson caught 52 passes for over 500 yards and five touchdowns. At times in 2021 when nothing was working for the Falcons offensively, Patterson did. That’s why they brought him back on a two-year deal this offseason. But what does Patterson’s future look like in Atlanta now that we know how he will be used? Truth be told it is up to others to help Patterson.

If you look at Patterson’s production last year, you’ll see his overall effectiveness decline as the season went on, especially as a receiver. That’s to be expected, though, to Patterson’s surprise. By the end of the season, other teams had a better idea of ​​1) how the Falcons used Patterson and 2) how to defend.

This is why it is so important that the Falcons add that mystery back, but in a different way.

The good news is that this starts with a multi-round return in the backfield alongside Patterson. Marcus Mariota has shown throughout his career that he can stick and run. This adds a new wrinkle to the offensive game plan that could greatly benefit Patterson and his effectiveness in the run game.

As a receiver, things could look up for Patterson, too. The problem there was that there were few people who could relieve the pressure on Patterson. Think: The Falcons thought they would have Patterson, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and Kyle Pitts as weapons in 2021. Pitts was constantly taken away from the red zone. There just wasn’t as much diversity in the passing game as there will – possibly – be this year.

The Falcons added great size this offseason to pair with Patterson in the passing game. Of course, Pitts is coming back. But the addition of players like Drake London, Bryan Edwards and Auden Tate is a big change for this offense. Olamide Zaccheaus role will continue to expand, but overall you are looking at a very different pool of receivers than you were in 2021. This has the potential to restore Patterson’s role in the passing game in a big way depending on how the defense plays out. choose to play this offense. .

Overall, the added range of weapons should only help Patterson. If one of the recently added running backs can develop into a solid role on third downs that will continue to help Patterson’s workload, who could use a few drops to remain effective.

Because that’s the thing about Patterson: The fresher he is and the more secrets he can provide, the better.

Early in the season, he may be a target on every defensive radar, but if the Falcons can see increased production elsewhere early, that could take a lot of defensive pressure off Patterson. And we’ve seen what he can do when he’s keeping defenses in check.

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