Last season the Falcons were 24th in rushing, averaging 93.6 rushing yards per game. In 2013 the team was dead last, 32nd in the NFL with only 77.9 rushing yards per game.
It's got to be better this season. If the Falcons are going to once again be a winning team, there must be some production from the running backs.
Steven Jackson is gone. Thankfully. Surprisingly, Antone Smith is gone. Devonta Freeman is back, and that's it. The new guys are third round pick Tevin Coleman and undrafted free agent Terron Ward.
Coleman has the starting job over Freeman. Both were out for part of training camp with hamstring injuries, but Coleman came back sooner and looked ready for the job. That's probably what the Falcons wanted all along.
Coleman had 3,219 rushing yards in three years at Indiana. Last year Coleman became only the 22nd player in FBS history to rush for 2000 yards or more in a single season. He had 2,036 rushing yards last season.
The Falcons will likely give Coleman a long leash to try and succeed. He's a talented player, and the Falcons would love for Coleman to become a dependable star running back.
Freeman is still around and he's only in his second season. But this is clearly Coleman's job for now.
The Falcons need to get somewhere between 10-20 in the NFL rankings in rushing to at least compliment the impressive pass game led by quarterback Matt Ryan. But Ryan will be so much more effective if the running game is contributing at some level. Coleman will be the key to that happening.
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