FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Cordarrelle Patterson was all smiles on Wednesday after returning back to practice off injured reserve.
It's been four weeks since the veteran running back has played a game since suffering a knee injury.
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There's no definite plan, as of yet, that Patterson will suit up against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, but he said he's feeling close to 100 percent following his first practice back.
"I would say about 90 percent," he said. "At this point in time, nobody is 100 percent. We're in Week 9 so nobody is going to feel 100 percent, so feeling at 90 percent right now, I feel pretty good."
Patterson described the last month as "tough" but boasted about the young duo in Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley "holding their own" after establishing one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL.
The Falcons rank fifth in the league with a total of 1,265 rushing yards, averaging 158.1 yards a game on 268 attempts through the first eight games.
Huntley had a career day against the Panthers rushing for 91 yards on 16 attempts and Allgeier scored his first receiving touchdown after catching a dump off pass from quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Avery Williams has also been a factor, averaging 5.8 yards a carry.
"The running backs we got in that room, they take good pride," Patterson said, "and when the opportunity come in, they showed those four weeks. They did what they were supposed to do."
He added: "They did a heck of a job, and this week if I can't go, they still are going to keep doing what they're supposed to do until I'm back. And when I'm back, they're still going to shine. I'm not coming to step on somebody's toes. This is our team, and the team comes first."
Seeing how the young backs have progressed over the last few weeks, plus having Patterson back in the mix adds another layer to an already versatile offense.
"I think that's the beauty of when you have a guy like CP," running backs coach Michael Pitre said last week, "is that you do have some flexibility of where you can line some different guys up."
Before being placed on IR, Patterson totaled 340 rushing yards on 58 carries, three touchdowns, 28 receiving yards and 27 kick return yards while also earning NFC offensive player of week honors after a 141-yard rushing day against the Seahawks. That was the second game this season where he exceeded over 100 rushing yards.
With the Falcons sitting at No. 1 in the NFC South, Patterson's overall impact will be needed to remain there.
"It was hard being away so long but now I'm just glad to be back, to see all these smiling faces in here. And everybody's working, man," Patterson said. "I just feel like nobody missed a beat since I left, and everybody's just hungry, just ready to get it."
If Patterson is able to play in his first game back against a Chargers defense featuring some top talents, the Falcons offense will continue to trend towards the right direction.
"Hopefully, you know, I feel 100 percent come Sunday so I can get off and just get going," he added.