For Tevin Coleman to make good on his potential, he will need to kick the injury bug.
Injuries are inevitable in the National Football League, particularly at a position as physically demanding as running back.
Second-year Tevin Coleman put together a frustrating rookie season. Fumbles cropped up at the worst times, and multiple injury setbacks were unwelcome.
A hamstring issue sidelined him for much of training camp, but the same injury to fellow back Devonta Freeman ensured Coleman was the starter in the Atlanta Falcons’ season opener. A ribs injury suffered in Week 2 opened the door for Freeman, and the rookie Coleman was never able to regain his starting job.
After tallying 112 rushing yards and a touchdown through one-and-a-half games to begin his career, Coleman would add only 280 more yards without a touchdown in his next 10.
A midseason concussion added to his injury woes. A year that promised so much early on would underwhelm, partly due to a lack of durability.
Coleman suffered a minor foot injury last week which kept him out of practice temporarily, but ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reported he was back on the field Friday. Fortunately this injury didn’t halt his progress for long, as the second-year back has been putting together an impressive training camp.
Coleman could become more of a factor in the passing game this season, an area Freeman excelled last term. Versatility will ensure the former Indiana Hoosier earns more touches in 2016.
Last week, The Falcoholic’s Jeanna Thomas named Coleman her “Training Camp Offensive MVP” so far.
"“Tevin Coleman continues to look very consistently good from day to day. It doesn’t matter if it’s individual drills, team drills, pads or no pads. He looks consistently good, and his progress as a receiver has been particularly impressive. Through the first four days, I — along with a couple of my media friends — would award Training Camp Offensive MVP to Coleman.”"
From a talent perspective, Coleman has the tools to become the perfect complement behind Freeman. His speed and big-play ability allows him to be the change-of-pace back the offense needs.
First he must improve his durability. It might be a reach to label Coleman injury prone, but a slew of minor setbacks last year slammed the breaks on any momentum he began to build.
Coleman has the talent to take a bigger slice of the pie this year, but priority number one is to ensure he’s available consistently.
If the second-year back can kick the injury bug, the sky is the limit.