Falcons activate Cordarrelle Patterson off injured reserve

ATLANTA — Cordarrelle Patterson, the lead rusher on the NFL’s No. 5 rushing offense, was called from injured reserve and is giving the Atlanta Falcons back one of their most dynamic players.

Patterson, 31, was one of the NFL’s best running backs before suffering a knee injury that had to be repaired and kept away for the past four weeks. He was in the middle of the best 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 September 11, and then again in Week 3 when he rushed for 141 yards in a win over Seattle on September 25 .

Patterson said Wednesday he feels 90 percent — but at this time of year, Patterson said no one will be 100 percent — and throughout his rehab from injury, he’s been constantly posting videos of his progress.

“I’m just trying to give the fans what they want to see, man,” Patterson said. “I was missing for a few weeks. I know fans have been missing me on Twitter and such, so I just had to post a video showing what I’m up to.”

It was the continuation of a career rejuvenation for the 2013 first-round pick, who had played receivers for most of his career. He started rushing in earnest back in Chicago in 2020, and by the time he signed with Atlanta in 2021, he was having a career year of 618 rushing yards and 548 receiving yards.

He re-signed to a two-year deal with the Falcons in March after openly campaigning for a return because he was comfortable with the coaching staff, the offense and the city, where he quickly became a fan favorite.

Then, this season, he started the year as one of the top rushers in the league. In his absence, the Falcons have continued to lead 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) along with quarterback Marcus Mariota (55 carries, 280 yards, three touchdowns).

But Patterson’s return offers a different dynamic than Atlanta’s offense, as Falcons head coach Arthur Smith can place him in a formation.

“If he comes back, I think that makes us a better offensive player,” Smith said in October. “Put it in there in several (packages). Is he a wideout? is he a back Is he a quarterback? effective and he made a lot of big plays for us in the passing game and the running game last year and he’s certainly had a pretty good season as a running player so far.

“If he comes back, I know that there’s a lot of things he can do for us and that will make us better as a complete offense.”

He also creates more problems for defensive coordinators who know what a set might look like given his positional versatility.

Patterson said when he returns he sees himself as part of the group that was one of the best rushing offenses in the league and a big reason the team is 4-4 and first in the NFC South. He also said that one of the things he’ll be watching for – and factoring into deciding when he’ll return – would be his conditioning.

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

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

Atlanta also added defenseman Jalen Dalton to the 53-man roster. To make room for Patterson and Dalton, the Falcons placed left guard Elijah Wilkinson on injured reserve and released edge rusher Quinton Bell.

Matt Hennessy is expected to start at left flank in place of Wilkinson.

The Falcons also increased the safety of Jovante Moffatt and offensive lineman Ryan Neuzil from practice for Sunday.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34955524/falcons-activate-cordarrelle-patterson-injured-reserve Falcons activate Cordarrelle Patterson off injured reserve

Emma Bowman

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