Smith picked up 46 rushing yards on nine attempts, as well as one reception for eight yards, during Atlanta's 31-24 victory against the Panthers on Sunday.
After averaging just 2.5 yards per rush during the preseason, the Falcons' fourth-round pick was effective in rotation alongside Tevin Coleman on Sunday. Smith averaged over five yards per carry against a Carolina front seven that in Week 1 held Ezekiel Elliott to his lowest rushing output since September of last season. Given that Devonta Freeman (knee) may miss 3-to-4 weeks with injury, Smith carries a strong likelihood to field 10-plus touches next week against a Saints defense that has surrendered 205 rushing yards across it's first two games of the season.
Atlanta's fourth-round pick has struggled to find running room to this point, as Smith has averaged just under 2.3 yards per carry on 15 combined attempts, adding one reception for minus-2 yards. The Southern Mississippi standout fielded kickoff returns Friday night as well, muffing two of them and compiling only 16 yards per runback.
Smith rushed twice for no gain and caught his lone target for a loss of two yards during Friday's 17-0 loss to the Jets in the preseason opener.
Tevin Coleman played the opening drive with Matt Ryan before Smith came in alongside backup quarterback Matt Schaub. The entire Falcons offense looked inept with just one first down in the first half, and Smith was no exception. He was a long shot to make up much ground on Coleman or Devonta Freeman to begin with, and this performance did nothing to help earn the rookie fourth-rounder more looks when the games start to count.
Smith (foot) returned to practice Wednesday, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
The rookie fourth-round pick missed a few days of practice with a foot contusion, but he still has plenty of time to impress the coaching staff at training camp. Regardless of how good he looks in practices and the preseason, Smith is expected to open the campaign as Atlanta's No. 3 running back behind Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
Smith missed training camp Sunday with a foot contusion, Matthew Tabeek of the Falcons' official site reports.
Head coach Dan Quinn reported in a post-practice press conference that none of the ailments for Sunday's three inactive players (Ito Smith, Takkarist McKinley, and Ty Sambrailo) are severe. It seems to have been a cautious measure to hold Smith out of practice, with sufficient time to ramp up the rookie's workload prior to the Falcons' preseason opener against the Jets on Aug. 10.
|5||10/7/18||@ PIT||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 8|
|9||11/4/18||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|10||11/11/18||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|12||11/22/18||@ NO||8:20 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|