At least for week 1, the Atlanta Falcons have made their choice as to who will be their starting running back: Rookie Tevin Coleman out of Indiana.
Coleman wins the job as is placed as the #1 guy at RB over Devonta Freeman on the team’s official depth chart for their opening game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Freeman was expected to be the starter when training camp began, but he missed all four preseason games with a hamstring injury, and accepts the fact that right now, he’s not 100% and shouldn’t be starting.
Once Freeman is healthy, we should see a more evenly distributed running game until one of the backs heats up and takes over the position. Coleman has said a number of times he’s excited about combining with Freeman in the backfield, promising it’s going to be something special.
But individual ability, by Coleman or anyone else, might not be enough. The Falcons have serious issues in their offensive line and are going to be relying on a new zone blocking scheme, which might take some time to figure out and implement well.
Coleman is a third round pick following three seasons with the Hoosiers. He ran for 2036 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, breaking the school’s single season record and finishing seventh in the 2014 Heisman Trophy voting having received two first place votes.