Found September 19, 2013 on Fox Sports South:
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. Hes a quiet, low-profile personality with a playing style to match, so its easy to overlook the fact that runningback Jason Snelling ranks among the longest-tenured members of the Atlanta Falcons. Snelling is in his seventh year in Atlanta, one of only five players who were drafted by the team before the arrival of general managerThomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith in 2008 the others being Roddy White, Jonathan Babineaux, Justin Blalock and Stephen Nicholas. Looking around, it seems like the faces are getting younger and younger, which means Im getting older, Snelling said. Its one ofthose bittersweet things: You hate to get old but its an accomplishment. Its good to be around here and on the same team. Its one of those great things I can hang my hat on. Another thing that Snelling can hang his hat on is that over the years when the Falcons top running back goes down, he has been readyand able to pick up the slack. That will be the case again on Sunday when the Falcons visit Miami without the services of injured starter Steven Jackson (hamstring), as Snelling will split the carries with Jacquizz Rodgers. On Sept. 19, 2010, against Arizona when Michael Turner went down during the game, Snelling took over and rushed for 129 yards on 24 carriesand one touchdown and also had five catches for 57 yards, earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. His best season as a pro came in 2009 during Turners most injury-filled campaign, as he finished with 613 yards on142 carries (4.3 per carry) and four touchdowns. In the season finale at Tampa Bay a game the Falcons needed to win in order to record the first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history he rushed for 147 yards on 25 carries. As a result, Snelling has shown that his value lies not just in his longevity but also in his ability to produce. In this game you always want to be relevant, said Snelling, who has remained a useful special teams player. The more things you cando, the more plays you can make to keep yourself around and help your team win. Its a good feeling to still have involvement on this team, especially on the offensive side of the ball, too. After Jackson went down last week on the games first series, the Falcons had little success running the ball against St. Louis. Rodgers,who has looked tentative hitting the holes, has not produced so far this season with just 16 yards on 13 carries. In their first two games, the Falcons have not run the ball well. They are tied for 26thin the league with 124 yards 50 of them coming on a single run by Jackson on 30 carries. Smith said Falcons runners need to press the holes. To get it going, it all starts with us, Rodgers said. Hit the first thing we see. That will help a lot and then it will help things goingdown the line later on in case we try to make some moves and get into the open field. Smith noted that against St. Louis the Falcons also faced eight defenders in the box, which Smith said they did not do a very good jobof blocking. Smith said that is partly the fault of the wide receivers. Perhaps the Falcons best blocking wide receiver is Roddy White but he continues to be limited in his playing time by a high-ankle sprain, which also could impact his effectiveness blocking.White played 34 plays (53 percent) last week. So I dont think its one person, Smith said. I think its the entire group. Video: NFL MVP Candidates 2013 Added quarterback Matt Ryan: Again, its one of those things weve got to be on top of mentally, weve got to identify things correctly.Ive got to get us into the right plays to go against certain looks that will help us out and I think collectively weve all got to do a little better job. During the final two preseason games, the Falcons looked like they would have success with Jackson running the ball. Now they need toshow that they can have success with someone else getting the carries. The fact that Snelling has a track record of success should breathe some confidence into his coaches and teammates. I think so, Snelling said of his past success. In this game, everything is what you put on tape and what you show. Its a show-me league.I felt like I have a resume in the past that Ive been able to get the job done when Ive been called upon. I know my teammates, coaches have confidence in me, as well as Jacquizz, to come in, step in and perform as they need us to.
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