In 2008 the Falcons ranked second in the NFL in rushing yards, but what can we expect from them in 2009. We can expect nothing less then a repeat of 2008. The roster as far as the running offense goes is perfectly intact. The only thing that really has changed is the age of every player involved.
Their age is both a plus and a minus, but at this stage in all of their careers it is a plus. All of the young linemen and running backs will more then likely improve during this off season and all will have better understandings of their roles.
Those where all generalities that anyone can make. Now let me explain why I am exited about 2009 and why you should be as well.
Lets start with the offensive line. The whole entire line is young with the exception of Todd McClure. Then there is the fact that they are all quite big lineman.
The right side of this line is really the bright side. They have Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo reaching new peaks in their careers. Both are 27-years-old which means they could be together for a few more years together and form a formidable duo. Now I am aware both are restricted agents, but I expect that both will resign.
Then the left side. This is the young side with Justin Blalock and Sam Baker. They are 23 and 24 respectively. They will be raised in this system and will continue their maturation process.
Todd McClure is the veteran of the group at 31. He is the leader in terms of emotion. He is at the center position and he is damn good at it.
Then the fullback Ovie Mughelli. He is a basically a brick wall with legs. He can and will open up running lanes by any means necessary. He will throw himself into the hole to create a crease for Turner and CO.
As for the running backs, Turner and Norwood will split the carries next season. They are a good complement to each other, but the main reason for this is because Turner carried the ball way to many times last season (376 carries).
He needs some relief and Norwood will more then likely be that relief. Jason Snelling however might find himself with a few carries as well. He is a weird mix of Turner and Norwood. He has the brute ability of Tuner and the amazing hands of Norwood. So do not be surprised if he gets a few carries.
So now that you know the logistics of the Falcons running game you can plainly see that they will be good for not only next season but for many years to come.
To answer the question though what can we expect from the running game in '09? I would not be surprised if the Falcons rushing yards increased by as many as 300 yards and three touchdowns. They will also lead the NFL in rushing yards by a significant amount.