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Arthur Smith: Without Derrick Henry, we’ll use multiple backs and trust our scheme

Mike Florio and Charean Williams analyze why the Falcons' financial situation makes it so difficult for Atlanta to improve before predicting which players will be with the team this upcoming season.

Arthur Smith has benefitted from calling plays for running back Derrick Henry for the last two seasons. He’s well aware things will change now that he’s the head coach in Atlanta.

“We’re not going to have Derrick Henry here,” Smith said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “So, it’s not like I think we’re going to have Derrick Henry.

“Hand it off and watch him stiff-arm 15 people and go 99 [yards]. ... You’d love to have that, but that’s not reality.

Instead, Smith envisions a committee approach to running back, emphasizing the system for its effectiveness.

“The reality is that we’ll get multiple backs in here, and we’ll have the way we trust our schemes and the way we teach the details of it, and we’ll commit to it,” Smith said. “That should provide hope to people because of that mindset.”

The Falcons finished the 2020 season 27th in rushing, amassing 1,532 yards. The club was 31st in averaging 3.7 yards per carry.

Todd Gurley led the club with 678 yards and nine touchdowns, but he was not taking the bulk of the carries by the end of the season. Both Gurley and the team’s No. 2 rusher, Brian Hill, are slated to be free agents this month. Ito Smith remains under contract, having taken 63 carries for 268 yards with one touchdown in 2020.