FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Following the news of Ito Smith being placed on injured reserve Monday, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said second-year running back Brian Hill will now serve as the primary backup to Tevin Coleman.
Smith was placed on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury and will undergo a surgical procedure this week, according to Quinn.
Smith's role increased after Devonta Freeman was placed on IR on Oct. 16. Smith has rushed for 315 yards and four touchdowns and has 27 receptions for 152 yards.
"I am happy with the progress he's made," Quinn said. "He's shown he catch the ball out of the backfield, he can protect. Having those kinds of moments, I thought was a real important step to process, that's what I told him today. Not only have you showed you belong, this is the offense you can thrive in."
With both Smith and Freeman now on injured reserve, the Falcons running back group will look different for the final two games of the season.
After a productive college career at Wyoming where he rushed for
4,287 yards and 35 touchdowns, Hill, a former fifth-round draft pick for the Falcons in 2017, has bounced around. From the Falcons' active roster to signing with the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad, back to the Falcons' practice squad. And now he is Atlanta's No. 2 option at running back.
Jeremy Langford is another player the Falcons (5-9) will consider at the running back position as the week goes on, according to Quinn. Langford was signed to Atlanta's practice squad at the end of November after spending time with the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.