The Atlanta Falcons have been largely dependent on Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones in recent years and with good reason. The trio has been prolific and for the past three years the Falcons simply haven’t had a running game capable of balancing the offense, as they’ve finished 24th or worse in the NFL in rushing in each of those three seasons.
In 2012, when the Falcons were playing for an NFC Championship, that lack of a running game seemed inconsequential but as they struggled in each of the last two years, going 4-12 in 2013 and then 6-10 in 2014, the subpar running game certainly needed addressing. Now, the veteran White seems to think that the Falcons are going to make a concerted effort to get that running game going.
He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Orlando D. Ledbetter the following:
"We're not going to be passing 35-40 times a game," #Falcons WR Roddy White said today.
— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) June 14, 2015
Steven Jackson is gone now, but returning is Devonta Freeman, a fourth-round pick out of Florida State in the 2014 NFL Draft who had 473 yards from scrimmage last season and big play threat Antone Smith, who scored five touchdowns and had 366 yards from scrimmage of his own. However, perhaps the most important piece of that puzzle is recent third-round pick Tevin Coleman.
After running for 2,036 yards last year at Indiana, Coleman comes to Atlanta with the expectation of becoming the Falcons’ featured tailback. And while he’ll undoubtedly have to share carries with Freeman and Smith, it’s Coleman that has everyone thinking the Falcons may finally have a running game worth balancing out the high octane passing attack featuring Ryan, White and Jones.
High-profile wide receivers rarely seem excited about the potential of losing targets, but if it means a more potent and well-balanced offense capable of winning games, White sound like he’s all for it.