I don't think anybody denies that the Falcons underutilized Antone as well as how they utilized him.
Being an NFL running back is really about getting "extra" yards. Anybody can run through a wide open alley or lane. That takes little to no skill. But being a successful NFL running back is about getting the "hidden" yards that aren't so wide open. Being able to find daylight when it's barely there, and/or creating it when it's not. The latter comes usually from being able to run with power and get yards after contact, or with elusiveness, which involves lateral quickness and the ability to juke defenders when given space.
Smith doesn't possess either of these traits, thus why earlier posts I made this year, is that he's not really a running back. Coupled with the fact that he's the 4th best pass-protector among the RBs, putting him on the field to block is actually holding back the offense. It's no different than Turner with his hands. If he's in the game and being asked to catch passes, it's making your team worse.
What Smith does possess is excellent speed and acceleration. If he can run in a straight line, he's extremely effective. It's also why he's such an effective gunner and player on special teams coverage, because so much of that is running in a straight line as fast as you can.
The Falcons failure was not to simply give him more carries, but in trying to devise ways to take advantage of that lone strength/asset that Smith had. Running him up the gut was just dumb. Barring a huge alley being created by our blockers (a rarity this season), he would just run into the pile.
fun gus wrote:
I dunno, it is hard to make a case the guy should not have gotten more snaps due to his 'fragility': the guy was a ST gunner for 6 years? This may be a case where as Pudge likes to say 'injuries are random'
I apologize if I'm misreading your intent, but just to be clear, Antone's injury is/was random. I've attached a GIF of the play in which he injured himself, in which Dezmen Southward rolled into his leg.
Antone has covered over 120 punts over the past 3.5 seasons with the Falcons, yet on this particular one
a guy hit his leg at the exact correct angle to cause a break. If that doesn't qualify as random
, then I don't know what does.
Now, if your point is to say that he wouldn't have suffered that particular injury
at that particular time
if he was not allowed to cover punts, then you are correct. But again, this is a football field. There is no place where you can avoid injury. The very nature of the sport makes injury inevitable. It's only the severity of the injury that is in doubt, and again, that's random.