Atlanta Falcons: Bringing Back Jason Snelling Is More Important Than Many Know

Will BrownContributor IAugust 8, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 02:  Jason Snelling #44 of the Atlanta Falcons breaks a tackle by Sherrod Martin #23 of the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on January 2, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The last two weeks I've been pretty worried that the Atlanta Falcons wouldn't bring back Jason Snelling, one of the most important keys to the Falcons' success last year.

Snelling is vital to the offense because he does so many different things. On his 131 touches last season, Snelling racked up 627 yards (4.7 yards per) and scored five touchdowns. 

According to NFL reporter Adam Caplan, Snelling was actually on the field for more snaps (43.80 percent) than starting running back Michael Turner (41.87 percent).

Snelling is very good at receiving out of the backfield. He's also good at blocking and has proven sufficient running with the ball in his hands, to the tune of a 4.1 yards a carry the past two years.

On Sunday, the Falcons signed Snelling to a one-year deal, so that he could continue his services for the team this season.

With Turner slowing down a good bit towards the end of the season last year, I expect Snelling to get a little bit more of the carries out of the backfield. His carries should go to somewhere in the 110-125 range, if I had to guess this year.

Whether or not Snelling returns for the 2012 season, his importance will still be felt to the team this year. If we had not brought him back, then rookie Jacquizz Rodgers would have more than likely been forced into the second-string spot for this season. Now Rodgers will get some time to learn the ropes—and the playbook—before he has to take on a big-time role so early in his career.

This re-signing won't be a big deal to the media, but front offices around the league know how important Snelling is to the Falcons, and any team would love to have him as a backup.