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Falcons Rookie Devonta Freeman Poised For More Touches


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Formatting is a little jacked up...

Maybe it was a preview of things to come for Devonta Freeman.

In the third quarter of last Sundays 19-17 win at Carolina, the Atlanta Falcons rookie running back took a handoff, exploded a few steps up the middle, then made a quick cut left while following a block from pulling guard Jon Asamoah. Freeman made a safety miss, made another quick cut in front of a block by receiver Julio Jones, then stiff-armed veteran safety Roman Harper en route to a 15-yard gain.

"Thats what I do," Freeman said confidently. "Thats my game. Once I feel the game out and understand everything, I feel like if you just let me go out there and play, Im going to dominate. Im going to do my job. Im going to go out there and contribute."

Freeman should get ample opportunity to prove his value for the remainder of the season. The Falcons lost a key part of their running back rotation when speedy Antone Smith suffered a season-ending broken leg last Sunday. The loss of Smith means the Falcons will transition from a four-man running back rotation to a trio of Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Freeman.

Expect Freeman to be the primary beneficiary of the redistribution of carries following Smiths injury.

"Injuries are going to happen all the time," Freeman said. "Ive been hurt so many times in my career. I broke my ankle three times; broken hip. Ive sprained my ankles a lot. So I understand what [smith] is going through and all the pain, especially when you have a passion for football.

"For me, I just want to go out there and help the team as much as I can and contribute to this teams success, which I think were going to have a lot of success. I just plan on going out there and being consistent, competing, being physical, and doing what I do best."

Freeman had a career-high 11 carries (for 12 yards) during a 56-14 blowout of Tampa Bay in Week 3. He has 35 carries for 147 yards (4.2 yards per carry) through 10 games along with a 7-yard touchdown reception against Detroit.

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter talked about what Freeman brings to the running game.

"Well Devonta has an explosive running style," Koetter said. "He hits the hole fast. You saw when he got out into the open field on the one the other night, he was able to make one guy miss and then kind of run through a second guy. Hes just got an explosive style.

"Usually, at the running back position, this thing sorts itself out earlier in the season. Its unfortunate. We hate to lose Antone because hes such a valuable player in both the offensive aspect and in the special teams aspect. Now were splitting three guys instead of four, so both Devonta and Jacquizz should see their time go up."

Coach Mike Smith was disappointed with the lack of efficiency in the run game last week against Carolina as the Falcons averaged just 3.2 yards per rush. Koetter attributed it to a few breakdowns plus the fact that the Falcons were up against two of the leagues top linebackers in Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

The Falcons have inserted Gabe Carimi as an extra blocker in the run game, while tight end Levine Toilolo has drastically improved as a run blocker. But they still rank 24th in the league in rushing, averaging 96.1 rushing yards per game.

This Sunday, the Falcons will face a Cleveland team banged up at linebacker and struggling to stop the run. The Browns rank 30th in the league in run defense and allow 142.1 rushing yards per game. They allowed 213 rushing yards -- 156 to rookie Alfred Blue -- in a 23-7 loss to Houston last week.

"Theyve lost three starters in the last two weeks, so every team has its injury issues as this point of the year," Koetter said. "I did watch the Houston game and Im not sure what (the Browns) exact issue was in that game. Every team is a little bit different in how they attack. ... We try to run the ball every week, and well try to run this week as well."

The Falcons still count on Jackson to set a physical tone, although he missed some practice time Thursday with an illness. Maybe Freeman will inject a little more life into the running game Sunday and help the Falcons get to the second level more consistently.

Edited by FentayeJones
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It'd be the smart thing to do so for that reason I fully expect our coaching staff to give the overwhelming bulk of the carries to Steven Jackson.

Not to hate on SJax but he's big and he lumbers to the hole or semblance of a hole and a quicker and shifty back like Freeman would be much more effective in some of those situations.

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If they pound the rock with Freeman I think we can win this game. Finally, a run D as bad as ours.

Their run D has been far worse than ours. Yes, we are 24th in ypg (122.2), but they are 30th (142.1). The thing nobody realizes about our run D is that we are 11th in ypc (4.0), they are 30th (4.6). We are tied for 2nd best in the league with only 3 rushing plays of 20+ yards. They are tied for 2nd worst in the league, giving up 10 plays of 20+ yards.

The reason we give up so many yards per game is we have the 6th most attempts against us. For comparisons sake, the Cowboys are ranked 11th in total rushing yards. They give up 4.4ypc with 9 plays of 20+ yards against them. The main difference is they've had 60 less carries against them.

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Based on our history of articles coming out about (insert deserving player here) getting more snaps, then the total opposite happens on the field the following week. I suspect Freeman will end up with 2 maybe 3 carries against Cleveland despite A. Smith being out for the rest of the year.

Edited by Beast-N-Da-Sheetz
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There were a few plays against the Panthers where Freeman was very very good.

He absolutely should start seeing more touches.

ok ok, back up a bit and lets not pass the 'Antone Smith - he does good things when he gets opportunites so he should get the ball more' jinx on him. We all know that doesn't really matter to this coaching staff

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