Falcons’ Qadree Ollison rounding out his game

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons running back Qadree Ollison, who’s 232 pounds, is the biggest of the six running backs in training camp.

Behind Ollison is Caleb Huntley (229), Cordarrelle Patterson (227), Damien Williams (225) and Tyler Allgeier (224). Avery Williams is the only scatback at 195 pounds.

“That’s what we are,” Ollison said. “We take pride in (being big backs), and we embrace that.”

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The Falcons are working on fielding a bruising running attack like coach Arthur Smith had in Tennessee.

“I think when (Smith) came here, that’s the identity that he wanted to bring to Atlanta,” Ollison said. “I think he wants that to be our identity.”

Ollison, who was drafted in the fifth round (152nd overall) of the 2019 draft by the Falcons, rushed for 105 yards on 21 carries last season. He’s been a backup the past three seasons and contributed on special teams in 2021.

“I feel like I can do everything,” said Ollison, who had two 1,000-yard seasons in college at Pittsburgh. “We are all versatile. That’s what makes it a really good running back group.”

Patterson spent most of his career as a wide receiver. The Falcons figured out how to use him at running back last season. Patterson can run and catch out of the backfield, and that’s what Ollison has been working on.

“I feel like I can do everything. We are all versatile. That's what makes it a really good running back group."

- Falcons running back Qadree Ollison, who had two 1,000-yard seasons in college at Pittsburgh

“Absolutely, you can never stop working,” Ollison said. “You can never stop getting better. The more you can do. That’s what we say around this building. The more you can do, the more you give yourself the best chance to be on the field.”

Trying to improve his short-area quickness was a project for Ollison.

“Really, having that short-area quickness and burst,” Ollison said. “I’ve always been a bigger, stronger guy, and having that quickness to add to that is something that I’ve worked on for sure.”

The Falcons could muster only 85.4 yards rushing per game, which ranked 31st of 32 teams in the NFL last season. The Falcons averaged only 3.69 yards per carry, which ranked 30th overall.

“Really, we need all 11 in the run game,” Ollison said. “That’s something that we are preaching in the offensive room. If you’ve got all 11: receivers, tight ends, backs and obviously the offensive line and even the quarterbacks now, that’s really what it is, everybody doing their job every single day.”

Ollison doesn’t have any personal goals. “Just help this team win, any way I can,” he said.

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