The wait is finally over for the Atlanta Falcons’ rookie running back. Tevin Coleman is set to make his NFL debut this Saturday against the Miami Dolphins after battling through injury much of training camp. Coleman is expected to be one of the top tail-backs used by the Falcons in 2015 and will finally get a chance to play under the lights.
Coleman’s running style is very blunt. He treats every carry like a sprint and can make a big play happen at any time. However, his patience and ability to slow his tempo down needs work. Many believed that Coleman needed a spread offense in order to succeed in the NFL. Luckily for Coleman, that is exactly what he will be playing in while in Atlanta.
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Coleman isn’t a very creative tail-back either. He uses his speed and one-cut ability to turn the ball up-field, but isn’t going to break many tackles. His style of play leads to a lot of runs ending prematurely, but when he finds a hole it’s off to the races. Half of his 28 career rushing touchdowns were of 43-plus yards, including eight of 64-plus yards.
What should we expect from Coleman as a rookie in 2015? It’s tough to say at the moment. The Falcons have been unable to run the ball in their first two preseason games. The likes of Terron Ward and Michael Ford have been unable to move the ball down the field, but a much faster, shifter back like Coleman will bring a much different look to the Falcons’ backfield this Saturday.
Coleman has the potential to have a very good 2015 season, however he isn’t the only running back in the mix to win the starting job. Second-year pro Devonta Freeman is expected to split reps with Coleman for the foreseeable future, but neither running back has played thus far in the preseason due to injury.
It is unclear how many reps Coleman will receive in his first game, but the odds are it won’t be very many. However, head coach Dan Quinn expects him to be like a rock in his first game, but doesn’t want to rush things. If Freeman is unable to play this Saturday, Coleman will likely have to edge on the depth chart heading into week one against the Philadelphia Eagles.
May 26, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (26) on the field during OTA at Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Regardless of who starts for the Falcons, the rolls are pretty much set in stone for the time being. Coleman is expected to be on the field during first and second down while Freeman will be the third-down back for his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
When it comes to creativity, Freeman has Coleman beat hands down. Freeman specializes on finding loop holes and creative plays to gain yards while Coleman is a straight forward runner. Both men serve a purpose, but whose purpose will matter the most is undetermined at this time.
Coleman has been quoted as being a, “race car in the red.” He lives life on the edge and doesn’t let in on any play. This can be very exciting, yet very concerning as well. We are all ready to see number 26 out on the field and will be looking for him to set the tone early for what Atlanta should expect from the run game in 2015.