Brian Hill won't see much playing time in 2018 unless bad things happen to the running backs in front of him on the Falcons depth chart. Keep him off rosters.
Hill ran for 30 yards on eight attempts, adding a nine-yard reception during Sunday's 34-32 win against the Buccaneers. Atlanta entrusted Hill with 16 carries over the final two games of the season after Ito Smith (knee) went down with an injury in Week 15. The second-year back turned those opportunities into 145 rushing yards against the Panthers and Buccaneers. Granted, 60 of those yards came on a single carry in Week 16, but Hill once again flashed big-play ability in Sunday's season finale, picking up nine or more yards on three of his eight attempts against Tampa Bay's porous rush defense. With Tevin Coleman potentially moving on to a new team in 2019, Hill has a shot to become the Falcons' third-string back behind Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith.
Hill carried eight times for 115 yards and lost a fumble during Sunday's 24-10 win over the Panthers. Hill was thrust into a prominent role after Tevin Coleman (groin) left the game, as the team had no other tailback available. He gashed the Panthers several times as he topped the 100-yard mark, including an electric 60-yard gain. Considering that the team has nothing left to play for, Coleman could be held out of action next Sunday against the Buccaneers, which would give Hill the opportunity to build on this surprising performance.
Hill is the only other active tailback behind Tevin Coleman for Sunday's Week 16 tilt against the Panthers with Jeremy Langford declared inactive for the contest. The second-year back will thus have any leftover carries all to himself. Hill rushed three times for seven yards Week 15 against the Cardinals and has carried just four times overall on the season. Given the Falcons' propensity for leaning heavily on the pass, Hill's workload is expected to be fairly limited despite his No. 2 role Sunday, although coach Dan Quinn did confirm earlier in the week he was planning to give Hill a closer look over the final two games.
Coach Dan Quinn plans to get a closer look at Hill after Ito Smith (knee) was placed on injured reserve, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports. Hill and Tevin Coleman are left as the only running backs on the 53-man roster, with Jeremy Langford potentially coming up from the practice squad at some point this week. The Falcons might turn to Coleman for heavy usage if they were still fighting for a playoff spot, but there isn't much incentive to overwork him in what likely will be his final two games with the team. Hill may thus be tasked with replacing most of Smith's workload, which jumped to an average of 9.0 carries and 2.7 targets over the past three weeks. Selected by the Falcons in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, Hill took 11 carries for 37 yards with the Bengals late last season, eventually landing back in Atlanta this September. The Wyoming product has good straight-line speed (4.54 40) for a 219-pound running back, but he's unproven in terms of vision, agility, elusiveness and receiving ability.
Hill picked up five yards on one carry during Sunday's 34-20 loss to the Packers. The Falcons' 2017 fifth-round draft pick made one appearance last year for Atlanta but did not register a carry before being cut, and later signed with Cincinnati, where he finished out the season running for 37 yards on 11 carries over six games. Having rejoined Atlanta in early September, Hill dressed for his sixth game of 2018 Sunday against Green Bay, earning nine offensive snaps and receiving his first carry in a Falcons uniform. As Devonta Freeman (groin) remains on injured reserve for the time being, Hill continues to fill in as the third-string option behind Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith. The Falcons host Arizona's 30th-ranked rush defense in Week 15.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|7||10/20||Los Angeles Rams||14||17.26|
|10||11/10||@New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
|12||11/24||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|
|13||11/29||New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
|15||12/15||@San Francisco 49ers||20||19.00|
|17||12/29||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||16||97||0||2||22||0||11|