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Falcons victories are 'best goal ever' for Devonta Freeman

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I love both of these young men's attitudes. And they can flat out ball, too!


True to his team-first mentality, Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman refused to take the bait.

When asked what's a realistic weekly goal for combined rushing yards or touchdowns between himself and fellow running back Tevin Coleman, Freeman deflected the attention away from any such statistics.

“To be real? Get the win. That's the best goal ever,” Freeman said. “Because it ain't about me. It ain't about Tevin. It ain't about Pat [DiMarco]. It ain't about nothing individual. If we can get that win, that's the best goal ever. If we can get to the playoffs, get to the Super Bowl, that's what it's about. That's all it's about.

“Individual [goals], you keep those things to yourself because it ain't about you. Let's get this win. That's what I'm about.”

Going into Monday night's game against the rival New Orleans Saints, Freeman and Coleman are coming off a combined 139 rushing yards -- 93 for Freeman, 46 and a 13-yard touchdown for Coleman -- in a 35-28 victory over the Oakland Raiders. They were helped, of course, by a strong performance by the offensive line in front of them. But production like that from either just one or both will only benefit the Falcons in the long run, particularly when it comes to opening up more play-action passes for quarterback Matt Ryan.

Freeman, who doesn't have a touchdown yet this season, of course wants as many touches as possible after a 2015 season when he rushed for 1,061 yards and tied for the league lead with 14 total touchdowns. However, Freeman, who surprisingly didn't have a reception against the Raiders, understands right now that he has to share the load with Coleman.

Meanwhile, Coleman had an interesting response when asked how many carries he needs to truly develop a rhythm.

“Rhythm? About 10,” he said. “You know the big one is going to come; the big one is going to break.”

Last week, Freeman had 17 carries to Coleman's 12. In a Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay, Freeman had 11 carries to Coleman's eight.

Freeman is going to get tough yards and use his great vision to find the hole. His pass-catching was an element that truly separated him from Coleman, but Coleman has vastly improved his receiving skills.

“I'd say I'm catching the ball better than I did last year,” Coleman said. “I wasn't really comfortable in there last year because I didn't really know the plays and things like that. It was tough [picking up the offense].

“Running the ball, that was easy. It was the protections and motioning out wide because in college, I really didn't receive the ball like that. So, I really didn't know a lot of routes as a receiver.”

Right now, Coleman stands fourth on the team with seven catches for 120 yards. Freeman, who was second on the Falcons behind Julio Jones with 73 catches last season, has four catches for 20 yards through two games.

The Falcons should feel fortunate to have a potent running back combo in Freeman and Coleman. They should find some success against the Saints, who have allowed 115.5 rushing yards per game and three rushing touchdowns. In last season's 31-21 loss in New Orleans, Freeman rushed for 100 yards on 13 carries and had a touchdown run and a touchdown reception.

Ryan certainly appreciates both Freeman and Coleman and the way they've approached the work distribution.

“Those guys are tight,” Ryan said. “That whole [running backs] room is tight. ... I think collectively, they all take pride in getting that run game going. We're lucky. In our locker room, we have a lot of unselfish guys.

“When the ball is going in a lot of different directions and guys care solely about winning and being productive on the offensive side of the ball, that's fun to be a part of. Both those guys are great teammates and great players.”



Edited by Goober Pyle
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Glad to see the maturity. Keep vaughn mcclure away from our guys. He is the one who asked the question to roddy about touches last year when we were 5-0. Keep in mind,  ESPN cuts his checks,  not the falcons. If he can stir up a hornets nest,  he will. I just hope our guys have a '1 band, 1 sound' mentality and no one takes the bait on anything that could possibly stir up the headlines 

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