Atlanta Falcons: Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman could be back next week


One concern with the Atlanta Falcons’ otherwise dominant offense this preseason has been the ground game. The Falcons’ top two backs, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, could be set to return next week against the Miami Dolphins.

Both players returned to practice this week but were rested for the New York Jets game at MetLife Stadium, which was a smart move. Hamstring issues can linger so there was no point rushing them back if they weren’t 100 percent. Coach Dan Quinn said after the game that they were both close to playing.

“It was close. We took them through the pre-game to see where we could get to them,” Quinn said. “They’re getting close but they’re not there yet. We’re not going to put them back out there with the hamstring injuries until they’re really ready.”

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And that’s the smart thing to do. Coming back from a hamstring injury too soon can cause long term problems, and could even result in an injury significant enough to recur throughout a player’s career. Both injuries are minor, so sitting out an extra week through preseason is sensible.

Coincidentally, third-string running back Antone Smith, who started last week’s game, is also out with a hamstring problem. It’s a bizarre set of circumstances with the Falcons’ top three backs all nursing hamstring injuries. It’s especially frustrating given Atlanta is trying to improve the ground game ahead of the new season.

Freeman and Coleman have been practicing, and with an extra eight days to recover they should be ready to go against the Dolphins. But should they play? Would you risk them at all this preseason or hold them out until Week 1?

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