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Thursday, March 8, 2012
Falcons' Snelling could get bigger role

By Pat Yasinskas

The Atlanta Falcons just announced they have agreed to contract terms with running back Jason Snelling.

Seemingly, that means the Falcons will go with their top three running backs from last season. Michael Turner has been the starter, with Snelling and rookie Jacquizz Rodgers each playing backup roles last season.

But I’m not sure the Falcons are done at running back. They could add another runner in free agency or the draft.

Coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff already have said several times that they plan to cut down Turner’s carries in 2012. That’s a good idea, because Turner has handled a ton of carries the past four seasons and his production slumped at the end of last season, although a lingering groin injury probably played a role in that.

Even if the Falcons stick with what they have, look for Snelling and Rodgers to get more playing time. Rodgers is clearly a speed back, and can be used in passing situations. But Snelling, who also can play fullback, can handle some of the snaps that have gone to Turner in the past.

Snelling, like Turner, is a power runner. He also has shown decent ability as a receiver out of the backfield.