atljbo Posted October 12, 2015 Share Posted October 12, 2015 http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/16622/warrick-dunn-praises-patience-of-devonta-freemanWarrick Dunn praises patience of Devonta Freeman Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer 2 Shares Email Print CommentWarrick Dunn had three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons with the Atlanta Falcons from 2004-06, so he can appreciate outstanding running back play.The former three-time Pro Bowler and Florida State standout always knew his fellow Seminole, Devonta Freeman, had special talent. But Dunn, a minority partner in the Falcons' ownership group, walked away from Sunday's Falcons-Redskins game even more impressed with a particular element of Freeman's game."Yesterday, he displayed that he was patient," Dunn said of Freeman, who ran for a career-high 153 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries. "He didn't try to force anything. He really took what the defense gave him. It wasn't always big plays. You can tell it wasn't that pressure of 'I need to make that run now.' Sometimes, as runners, we press because you think, 'I'm not going to touch the ball anymore.' He was running much more patient and calm, and he was definitely attacking. ... He showed some physicality, too."Freeman, who leads the league with eight touchdowns and 645 combined yards, gained 57 yards after contact against the Redskins, including five on his 6-yard touchdown run.Dunn noticed a difference in Freeman from the moment he replaced an injured Tevin Coleman (fractured rib) as the starter going into Week 3."I knew his desire just from watching him at Florida State," Dunn said, "but it also takes being in the right system and having the reps. Last year, he wasn't the guy. He came in and showed you flashes. But now, he's in a system that he's familiar with because they ran the zone system at Florida State. So, it's just a matter of him getting into the flow of the game."I tried to explain to people that when a running back is competing with guys for carries and when you have to look over your shoulder every time you don't have a big run or you gain two yards and then lose two yards, those are opportunities that are being taken away from you because there's another guy coming in that can be effective. ... I've seen the patience ever since Tevin went out. Once [Freeman] knew he was going to get the ball on a more consistent basis, he was like, 'OK, I don't have to force anything or try to make a big play to get more carries. It's on me. I can take my time and pick my spot.' He's really taking it to another level and has a good rhythm with the offensive line."Freeman is on pace for 1,300 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns, with a couple of three-touchdown games getting him off to such a torrid start. He enters Thursday night's matchup against the Saints with 403 rushing yards on 93 carries with those eight scores. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Freeman is the first player with eight rushing touchdowns in the first five games of the season since 2005, when Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson both accomplished the feat. Right now, Freeman has as many touchdowns as the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and Miami Dolphins, although the Dolphins have played one fewer game.Should becoming the Falcons' first 1,000-yard back since Michael Turner (2012) carry any added significance for Freeman, if he achieves such a mark?"I think it matters," Dunn said. "With the way the game is today, that has changed a lot. I think it matters more now because they're throwing the football a lot now. If you get 1,000 yards today, people take notice of that. It's like, 'Wow, this guy is being efficient because it's more of a passing league.' You've got to respect those guys."When I was playing, I had to work to get my touches, but it was no holds barred. We hit each other. We did whatever it took to get a first down. But now, I think you've got to put more emphasis on it when a guy gets 1,000 yards."Sidenote:Matthew Berry Verified account @MatthewBerryTMR 6h6 hours agoDevonta Freeman now has 8 rushing TD's in his last 72 carries. In 2014, LeVeon Bell had 8 rushing TD's in 290 carries.The guy is 1st in TD's... 2nd in rushing yards..and leads all Rbs in receiving Yards Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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