The Atlanta Falcons almost began the season without Jason Snelling. Now he could be one of the keys to the team's playoff hopes.
Most of Snelling's playing time in his five seasons in Atlanta has come at running back. Beginning with this week's game at Indianapolis, he has an opportunity to prove he take over as the starter at fullback.
Pro Bowl fullback Ovie Mughelli's season-ending knee injury in Atlanta's win at Detroit on Oct. 23 leaves Snelling as the probable new starter. Mughelli, who was placed on injured reserve last week, had surgery on Monday to repair a tear in his right MCL.
The Falcons signed fullback Mike Cox last week, but Snelling appears to be the first option to replace Mughelli. Snelling's normal dual role as a backup at running back and fullback will change as he focuses on blocking.
''As you know, Jason has been kind of that back who can play both,'' coach Mike Smith said after Monday's practice. ''That's going to obviously change his role.''