clearn.png
Tuesday April 23rd, 2019 2:11AM

Falcons' running game woes come in bad time for Coleman

By The Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH — This is not the way Tevin Coleman hoped to pad his resume entering possible free agency.

Coleman had an excellent opportunity to show he can be a lead running back when Atlanta Falcons starter Devonta Freeman was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 16. Coleman had been productive in a shared role with Freeman the last three years, but his chance to shine as the clear-cut starter hasn't worked out as planned.

The Falcons' running game has flopped. Atlanta ranks last in the NFL in rushing entering Sunday's game at the Green Bay Packers.

The blame can't rest only on Coleman and rookie backup Ito Smith. In recent weeks there has been no room to run behind a makeshift offensive line. It's a big reason the Falcons (4-8) have lost four straight games .

Instead of seizing the job and increasing his value on the free-agent market, Coleman has hit a wall. He has 14 carries for 14 yards in the last two games.

Coleman said Wednesday he's not concerned about the possible financial hit to his free-agent outlook.

"I'm really not thinking about that right now," Coleman said. "I'm just thinking about playing my game."

Smith had more carries than Coleman in last week's 26-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens , though neither back was effective.

Smith had seven carries for 22 yards. Coleman ran for only eight yards on a season-low six carries.

"That wasn't by design at all," said coach Dan Quinn of Coleman's reduced role.

The Falcons ran only five plays in the third quarter against the Ravens' top-ranked defense. Coleman had three carries on Atlanta's opening possession and only three more the remainder of the game.

Coleman lost yardage on three of his six carries.

"It's definitely been frustrating but we've just got to keep on working, keep coming out here and practicing hard and getting the right looks we need to get," Coleman said.

When the running game isn't working, Matt Ryan's play-action passing game also suffers. Ryan's 131 yards passing against the Ravens set a career low for a full game.

Clearly, it's crucial for Coleman and the Falcons to revive their running attack.

"It sets up everything," guard Ben Garland said Wednesday. "We have to run the ball better so we're allowed to run the ball more and have more play-pass. It sets up the rest of our offense

The Falcons face difficult offseason decisions at running back.

Freeman signed a five-year, $41.25 million extension before the 2017 season, making him one of the NFL's highest paid running backs. He has played in only two games this season due to knee, foot and groin injuries. Freeman and Coleman each missed time with concussions in 2017.

Coleman, in his fourth season, ran for 107 yards in a Week 2 win over Carolina . He has only one other game with at least 60 yards. Overall, he has 514 yards rushing with two touchdowns.

Season-ending injuries to starting guards Andy Levitre and Brandon Fusco have hurt ground game, especially in the last few weeks.

"Really over the last four games is where we felt like we hit a wall," Quinn said.

Quinn is trying every option on the patchwork line. Zane Beadles started over Garland at right guard against the Ravens. On Wednesday, Ty Sambrailo took snaps ahead of starting right tackle Ryan Schraeder. Quinn has not said if Beadles will make another start or he will make a change at right tackle.

Breaking the season into four-game quarters, Quinn is looking at Sunday's game as the start of the team's fourth quarter and another chance to find the missing running game.

"We're going to keep digging hard," he said. "You know how important it is to us and the team. We're not backing off even though the results over the last third quarter have not been what we want. We're starting fresh for us in this fourth quarter ... going after it as hard as we can in every way."

© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Former GHS standout Thacker hired as new Georgia Tech DC
Former Gainesville High standout Andrew Thacker was named the new defensive coordinator by new new Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins Monday...
9:28PM ( 3 months ago )
Pacers beat Hawks for 5th consecutive victory
Myles Turner scored 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots in less than 24 minutes Monday, helping to lead the Indiana Pacers past Atlanta 116-108 before breaking his nose midway through the third quarter...
9:17PM ( 3 months ago )
PODCAST: Hard Left Turn with Brandon Reed and Pete McCole (12-31-18)
As we get ready to throw the checkered flag on the holiday season - and on 2018 - the Around The Track crew has worked to bring a little taste of Georgia Racing History...
8:00PM ( 3 months ago )
Sports
Jones disappointed to miss playoffs, likes Falcons' future
Every year Julio Jones puts up big numbers while the Atlanta Falcons fall short of a championship. And every year he puts a positive spin on what went wrong and what looks promising heading into next season...
7:05PM ( 3 months ago )
Quinn wants Falcons focused on details entering finale
Coach Dan Quinn isn't dwelling on how desperate the Atlanta Falcons are to avoid a 6-10 record...
7:24PM ( 3 months ago )
Ryan, Falcons hand Panthers 7th straight loss, 24-10
Matt Ryan threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns as the Atlanta Falcons handed the Carolina Panthers their seventh straight loss 24-10 on Sunday...
4:08PM ( 3 months ago )
Professional Sports
Falcons agree to terms with Clayborn
The Falcons have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with defensive end Adrian Clayborn
By AccessWDUN Staff
12:31PM ( 3 days ago )
Falcons agree to terms with Justin Hardy
The Falcons have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with wide receiver Justin Hardy. In 2018, the five-year veteran saw action in 16 games, recording 14 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
By AccessWDUN Staff
2:42PM ( 3 weeks ago )
Falcons agree to terms with RB Kenjon Barner
The Falcons have agreed to terms with running back Kenjon Barner on a one-year contract.
By AccessWDUN Staff
6:38PM ( 4 weeks ago )
Falcon agree to terms with Luke Stocker
The Falcons have agreed to terms with tight end Luke Stocker on a two-year contract.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:41AM ( 4 weeks ago )
Falcons address top need, sign guards Carpenter, Brown
After Matt Ryan agreed to restructure his contract to clear salary cap room, the Atlanta Falcons quickly invested the new funds in protecting the quarterback.
By The Associated Press
9:30AM ( 4 weeks ago )