Falcons activate Cordarrelle Patterson off injured reserve

ATLANTE — Cordarelle Pattersonthe top rusher in the NFL’s No. 5-ranked running offense, was activated from injured reserve, giving the Atlanta Falcons one of their most dynamic players.

Patterson, 31, had been one of the best running backs in the NFL before suffering a knee injury that required surgery and kept him out for the past four weeks. He had been in the middle of the best rushing streak of his career, gaining 340 yards on 58 carries with three touchdowns in the first four games of the year.

Twice in the first four weeks of the season, Patterson set career highs for rushing — first, for 120 yards in the season opener against New Orleans on Sept. 11, then again. in Week 3 when he rushed for 141 yards in a win over Seattle on Sept. 25.

Patterson said on Wednesday he felt 90 per cent — but at this time of year, Patterson said, no one will be 100 per cent — and during his rehabilitation from injury he continuously posted videos of his progress.

“I’m just trying to give the fans what they want to see, man,” Patterson said. “I disappeared for a few weeks. I know I’ve been missed by the fans on Twitter and stuff, so I just had to post a video showing what I was doing.”

It had been the pursuit of a career rejuvenation for the 2013 first-round pick, who had played wide receiver throughout his career. He started moving to running back in earnest in 2020 at Chicago, and when he signed with Atlanta in 2021, he had a career year with 618 rushing yards and 548 receiving yards.

He re-signed with the Falcons on a two-year deal in March after openly campaigning to return due to his comfort with the coaching staff, offense and city, where he quickly became a fan favorite. fans.

This season, he started the year as one of the best rushers in the league. In his absence, the Falcons continued to run the ball well with running backs Tyler Allgeier (84 carries, 324 yards, one touchdown), Caleb Huntley (57 carries, 265 yards, one touchdown) and Avery Williams (10 carries, 58 yards, one touchdown) with the quarterback Marcus Mariota (55 carries, 280 yards, three touchdowns).

But Patterson’s return provides a different dynamic to the Atlanta offense because of the variety of places Falcons head coach Arthur Smith can place him in a lineup.

“When he comes back, I think it makes us a better offense,” Smith said in October. “Put it in there in several [packages]. Is it wide? Is there a back? Is he a quarterback? Is it a tight end? That’s where you’re coming from because I know when he touches the ball he’s efficient and he made a lot of big plays for us in the passing game last year and the running game and he’s definitely had a pretty good season so far. football.

“When he comes back I know there’s a lot he can do for us and it will make us better as a full attack.”

Patterson said when he returns, he considers himself part of the group that has been one of the best rushers in the league and a big reason the team is 4-4 and the first place of the NFC South. He also said that one of the things he was going to pay attention to – and that influenced the decision of when he would return – would be his conditioning.

Atlanta tries to use Patterson in all of their rosters. He had participated in 55% of Falcons snaps before the injury. This season, he has mainly been running back (106 snaps in the backfield, 12 in the lunge, two as a tight end and seven as a receiver). Last season, Patterson had 291 snaps at running back, 100 at receiver, 51 in the slot, 16 at tight end, one at quarterback and two at free safety.

The Falcons face off Los Angeles Chargers — one of two teams remaining on Atlanta’s schedule above the .500 mark — on Sunday.

Atlanta also signed a defensive lineman Jalen Dalton to the list of 53 men. To make room for Patterson and Dalton, the Falcons placed the starting left guard Elijah Wilkinson on injured reserve and released edge rusher Quinton Bell.

Matt Hennessy should start at left guard in place of Wilkinson.

The Falcons also improved security Jovante Moffatt and offensive lineman Ryan Neuzil of the Sunday practice squad.

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