Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with running backs coach Gerald Brown

Running backs Jerious Norwood #32 and Thomas Brown #27 of the Atlanta Falcons look on during instruction by running backs coach Gerald Brown during minicamp at the Falcons Complex on May 9, 2009 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (Photo by Paul Abell/Getty Images)

Running backs Jerious Norwood #32 and Thomas Brown #27 of the Atlanta Falcons look on during instruction by running backs coach Gerald Brown during minicamp at the Falcons Complex on May 9, 2009 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (Photo by Paul Abell/Getty Images)

FLOWERY BRANCH – During the recently completed minicamp, we chatted with running backs coach Gerald Brown, who’s set to enter his 27th year as a coach.

Brown has been with the Falcons since 2008 and has resided over Michael Turner and Ovie Mughelli’s climb to Pro Bowl status, while developing key backups like Jason Snelling, Antone Smith and Jacquizz Rodgers.

He’ll be charged with picking a replacement for Mughelli, who was waived this offseason.

Here are excerpts from the interview with Brown:

ON THE FULLBACKS: They have been looking pretty good in practice. They are competing. Last year, [Mike] Cox ended up playing from the Indy game on. He’s an NFL veteran. Last year, being in the system has helped him a lot. [Rookie Bradie] Ewing has done some really good things since he’s been here. We are happy about the competition that we have at the position right now.

ON RUNNING BACK MICHAEL TURNER: He’s been looking really well. Physically, he’s running the ball well. He’s right on pace, where he should be. We expect the same thing that he’s been giving us. Right now, we’ve got five tailbacks: Jason Snelling, Jacquizz Rodgers, Antone Smith, Dimitri Nance and Robbie Frey. We are trying to work all of those guys in, but Mike is looking good.

ON IF THE RUNNNING BACK’S ROLE WILL CHANGE IN THE NEW ATTACK: Michael has been our workhorse for a few years. We discussed the possibility of making sure that we monitor his reps so that he can stay strong for us through the season and into December. We feel very good about Jason Snelling and Jacquizz, too.

This year [Rodgers] is going through the offseason and that is going to help him. Snell is a veteran. He’s been there. When Michael is not in there, we feel comfortable with those guys being able to carry the load in both the run and the pass game.

MORE ON JACQUIZZ: What he was able to do with not having an offseason, we thought was really good for us and for him to step in and be able to contribute like he did [last season.] This offseason again, we think it can do nothing but make him a better player. Even last year, when we game planned, we made sure that Quizz had some touches because he can do some things in the run and pass game. He’s an explosive player and we’ll try to get him the ball.

Per the league’s media policy, there are minimum requirements for offseason access to the coaching staff. The Falcons went well beyond those minimums this offseason in making assistant coaches available to the media. Here are some of the other interviews with the coaching staff  in case you missed them.

Q&A with offensive assistant Andrew Weidinger.

Q&A with defensive assistant Mark Collins.

Q&A with special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.

Q&A with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Q&A with assistant offensive line coach Paul Dunn.

Q&A with offensive line coach  Pat Hill.

Story with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Q&A with defensive line coach Ray Hamilton.

Video interview with defensive backs coach Joe Danna.

Q&A with special teams assistant coach Eric Sutulovich.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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27 comments Add your comment

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Falconite1

July 2nd, 2012
5:57 am

Marcus

July 2nd, 2012
6:53 am

Great job, DOL. I hope Dunta, Asante and Brent have as good of coverage as you do.

Stupid

July 2nd, 2012
7:26 am

DOL: Why is the AJC using a picture from 2009?

JSS

July 2nd, 2012
8:13 am

Translation, lots of Turner and Rodgers

SeenThisB4

July 2nd, 2012
8:49 am

4th and six inches!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 2nd, 2012
9:12 am

Stupid – Because that’s the one I picked. Coach G-Money still looks the same.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 2nd, 2012
9:13 am

Marcus – Thank you kindly.

Dr. Huxtable

July 2nd, 2012
10:28 am

I don’t recall Rogers being utilized as much last year as this coach is suggesting (every game?). Anyway, here’s hoping they do so this season. He’s too good of a talent to ride the bench for long periods of time during games.

On another note. If the team I supported was the current embarrassment of the entire NFL, I sure wouldn’t be going to the rival’s blog pages in order to talk trash. But, that’s just me…someone with common sense.

BC

July 2nd, 2012
11:41 am

I hope that the birds are able to put together a O-line that can open some holes for these running backs! I am very worried about the suggestions coming out about Slump Baker, sorry I meant to say Sam Baker is already being penciled in at left tackle. D Led, please assure me this is not so.

Bro

July 2nd, 2012
12:33 pm

Coaches are so full of BS, that they would not know the truth if it was written out for them. Wouldn’t it be nice for once to hear a coach tell the truth about something. I’m not saying bad mouth a plyer, but just state that they really need a big, fast powerful runner and that they don’t have that. Freddi G of the braves is the worst in the league. You can not make honey out of crap, no matter how you word it. Just say we did not play well or did not get it done and that you expect improvement or changes will have to be made.

Stupid

July 2nd, 2012
12:48 pm

Bro. You hit it, coaches always give a generic response, Turner may not be the best but he is all they have and the coaches have to find a way to make what they have work.

DOL: Good article, but I think the Falcons would be better represented if you used a current picture rather than a picture of players that are no longer with the team and are long forgotten. That picture tells me that you are not happy with the current stable of running backs.

Mississippi Ace

July 2nd, 2012
12:52 pm

Antone Smith has the best hands, quickest feet,acceleration. He s the best back for screen passes and getting to the edge. Falcons don’t give this guy much playing time to prove it They play the backs that they pay the most money.They are hoding on to Antone because they don’t want another team to have him. The guy has made the team from the practice squad.We only use him om special teams. I saw this kid touch the ball in preseason last year on three screen plays, 27yds,38yds and one he took over 40 yds to te house. lcons never brought him in once during the season last year. Give this kid a chance to show what he can do.Much quicker and faster than Quizz who is a small power runner.

trailboss

July 2nd, 2012
1:00 pm

The problem last wasn’t the running backs… From what I was looking at was a line being pushed back in the backfield before the ball could be handed off,any running back will get you some yards if you give him somewhere to go They beefed up the line last year… now teach them how to maintain there blocks this was the problem and being stoop up. Not the running back problem if there’s nowhere to go.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 2nd, 2012
1:02 pm

Dr. Huxtable — I think he’s saying they had a plan to use him. Doesn’t mean that Mularkey called his number.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 2nd, 2012
1:03 pm

BC – I can not assure you of that. The franchise appears firmly behind Mr. Baker and his return to good health.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 2nd, 2012
1:06 pm

Stupid – You’re wasting time over analyzing a picture. It’s not about the picture. It’s about Coach G and his responses.

[...] In a Q&A with Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, running backs coach Gerald Brown hinted that Turner’s carries will be reduced this season. Said Brown, “We discussed the possibility of making sure that we monitor his reps so that he can stay strong for us through the season and into December. We feel very good about Jason Snelling and Jacquizz (Rodgers), too.” [...]

[...] in 2012 and the coaching staff is taking notice. As Running backs coach Gerald Brown notes (h/t Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s D. Orlando Ledbetter): What he was able to do with not having an offseason, we thought was really good for us and for [...]

[...] has been our workhorse for a few years,” Falcons running backs coach Gerald Brown told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s D. Orlando Ledbetter. “We discussed the possibility of making sure that we monitor his [...]

Barry

July 3rd, 2012
2:15 pm

Hey Y’all:

I really believe we should go to the nasty “ZONE RUN BLOCKING SCHEME” we had when Warrick Dunn was running in the backfield. That scheme has been successful on many teams, including Super Bowl Denver in their days and is currently being run in Houston under former Falcon line coach Joe Gibb. I say let’s bring it back. With the type of running backs we have, they are powerful and quick enogh to blast through those zzone gaps for lots of yards and touchdowns. I know the linemen love it.. .They can do it in “ONE HEARTBEAT!!”.

GO FALCONS!!

“FALCONS RISE UP!!!” IN “ONE HEARTBEAT!!!”

SSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a SECRET from a FALCON FAN. TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!

……………………………” ONE HEARTBEAT, BABY!!!”…………

[...] in 2012 and the coaching staff is taking notice. As Running backs coach Gerald Brown notes (h/t Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s D. Orlando Ledbetter): What he was able to do with not having an offseason, we thought was really good for us and for [...]

BIRDSFLYHIGH

July 4th, 2012
12:34 am

BIRDSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

JSS

July 4th, 2012
12:46 pm

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

True Falcon Fan

July 5th, 2012
12:33 pm

Well at least you are starting to get it you are a “ZERO” —- it’s like I’ve always stated you are very predictable!!!!

Go Falcons!!!!

falcon knowledge

July 5th, 2012
3:06 pm

I question whether he’s a good evaluator of talent. It seems like he just does the bare minimum to me. His answers were a bit routine compared to the other coaches. Lets get Barry or Gayle in here. Barry Sanders, Gayle Sayers see what they can bring to the table. I bet it’s elusive running and consistency. This guy probably preaches just to his the whole fast, pump legs, secure the rock, and put a hand down on contact.Fundamentals every year same thing nothing like baltimore, philidelphia or minnesota or jackson ville for that matter.

falcon knowledge

July 5th, 2012
3:08 pm

I agree with Barry, he’s on to something their. And who better to start that than Pat Hil with a young offensive line