The Falcons finished 16th in offense and 21st in defense. What does this mean for next year? They should concentrate on the d-line and the secondary. Getting back a healthy Peria Jerry should help, but not having a 2nd round pick in the 2010 draft is going to be a tough break. Looking towards 2010, the Falcons also made some minor roster moves, signing fan favorite D.J. Shockely to a futures/reserve contract.
Should Norwood stay or go?
Also looking towards 2010, Mark Bradley of the ajc.com thinks the Falcons can do with our Jerious Norwood (among others):
Jerious Norwood, running back: Three different coaching staffs haven’t yet figured a way to exploit Norwood’s talent. He has scored 10 touchdowns in four seasons; he scored one in 2009. (Yes, he was hurt. Still.) He averaged 3.3 yards a carry this season, which is terrible for a speed back. His longest run from scrimmage was 21 yards. When you’ve just completed your fourth NFL season and people are still talking about untapped potential, something’s wrong.
I respectfully disagree with Mr. Bradley. As he stated in his article, Norwood was injured much of the year – in my opinion concussions and hip injuries are not helpful, especially to a “speed” guy. If you look at Norwood’s career statistics, counting this year he has average 5.3 yds/rush, so this year’s subpar effort should be attributed to his health. Also consider that Norwood has averaged 9.5 yds/reception. For those keeping score at home, that is almost a first down per catch. I have long contended that the Falcons should use Norwood out of the backfield for quick out type patterns; anything to get him in open space where Norwood can utilize his speed.
For Norwood, the bottom line is that injuries sat him back this year. You also have to consider that injuries to Turner also affected the way Norwood was utilized. Look towards his per game statistics for further “proof” that injuries affected Norwood this year.
Now I am not saying that the Falcons should mortgage their future on Norwood, signing him to a crippling contract. I am saying that Norwood has been used effectively (at times) and should not be discarded after one injury plagued year.