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Posts tagged with "Devonta Freeman"

Let’s talk about it.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here, we’re at the bye week! Normally I’d bemoan the tediousness of it all, but this time around, I’m just grateful for the chance for Atlanta to take a breather and get healthy.

We are going to use this time to take stock of the Falcons and the NFL through four games, and so we’ll lead things off with an upbeat, hopefully fun question: Who has been the most impressive Falcon through four games?

There are some truly worthy candidates. Julio Jones has been his usual stellar self, Brooks Reed is having a weird resurgent season, Takk McKinley is putting together one hell of a rookie campaign, and Grady Jarrett is a legitimate beast in the middle of the defensive line.

For all that, though, I guess I’d go with Devonta Freeman. He has been absurdly good yet again, with 70 carries for 285 yards, an NFL-leading five rushing touchdowns, and nine receptions for 70 yards over four games. That’s a combined 355 yards and five TDs in an offense that has needed every hard-fought yard, and Freeman still looks like one of the greatest backs in the league. Steve Sarkisian is obviously willing to lean on Free, and that means he’ll probably be one of Atlanta’s best all season.

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They weren’t able to against Chicago, but we like their chances better.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta had a relatively lame week running the football, thanks to mixed luck with blocking, a stout Chicago defensive line, and a less than stellar effort by Devonta Freeman and (in particular) Tevin Coleman. It’s safe to say I don’t expect that to be the case very often.

Will it be against Green Bay, though?

I do think Atlanta can pull down about 100 yards against Green Bay, but I don’t think this is the week that the ground game really explodes. Mike Daniels and that stout Packers line can be problematic, the team has a decent young set of linebackers, and they swarm to the ball pretty effectively. The Seahawks got about 80 yards behind a bad offensive line and did so only carrying the ball 18 times, but 40 of those yards were tied up in two carries by Russell Wilson. Atlanta won’t have it easy, but they should be able to get theirs.

Let’s hear your prediction for the game ahead for the likes of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and then use this as your open thread for the night.

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Falcons fans buzzed around their new home to come see Atlanta play its first home game of the preseason.

ATLANTA — Mercedes-Benz Stadium came alive for the first time on Saturday evening. Falcons fans buzzed around their new home to come see Atlanta play its first home game of the 2017 preseason, a 24-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

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Although the Falcons dropped their third game of the preseason, there are still plenty of reasons for optimism as the regular season draws near. Coach Dan Quinn will have a lot of good film to review with his team before Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After the game, Quinn took a moment to acknowledge all of the hard work that went into building Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Before we begin tonight, I really want to acknowledge the thousands of men and women that really have poured a lot of their energy and time and heart into this stadium,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. Our team, we’re so damn excited to be here. So for all of the men and women who created this lasting legacy, we wanted to make sure we acknowledged all of you – how much we appreciate all of the work you’ve put in.

“As I said earlier, we were so damn excited to play. It didn’t turn out like we’d like, tonight, in terms of the way the finish happened for us, but I did want to acknowledge it’s so special to be here back with our fans and, in this, our home.”

Here are the five biggest takeaways from Saturday’s game.

Coleman stands out

The Falcons’ first-team offense didn’t look as sharp as it had thus far in the preseason, but running back Tevin Coleman was at least one starter who stood out.

Atlanta has shown some creative ways to get their speedster the ball in space, and it was effective in doing so against the Cardinals on Saturday. Coleman had three carries for 19 yards and caught one pass for 14 yards.

Starting running back Devonta Freeman missed his second straight preseason game as he continues to progress through the NFL’s concussion protocol. Freeman and Coleman form one of the league’s best backfield duos, and both players should see plenty of action in 2017.

Defensive newcomers make big plays

Atlanta’s depth on the defensive line improved greatly over the offseason, and two new additions made several big plays against the Cardinals.

First-round pick Takkarist McKinley showed nice burst as a pass-rusher and harassed Arizona’s quarterbacks when he was in the game. On one play, McKinley forced Drew Stanton to move up into the pocket where defensive tackle Jack Crawford was waiting for the sack.

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 Here are five things we learned at Falcons practice on Tuesday:

1. Jones looked great. Head coach Dan Quinn said he’ll “consider” playing All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones in game three. Jones looked like he was getting ready for action. He made a nice strong move on an inside route and zoomed past the safety. On another play, he ran past the coverage and tracked down a deep throw from backup quarterback Matt Schaub, who can still get it out there. Jones looked good and was moving well.

2. Freeman sighting. Running back Devonta Freeman did some running before going back inside sporting one of the black bucket caps.

3. Pads came off. About an hour and 40 minutes into the practice the Falcons took a break, replenished with some fluids and took over the pads.

4. Grace returned. Linebacker Jermaine Grace, who missed the Pittsburgh game with a hamstring injury, was back at practice.

5. McKinley spoke. First-round draft pick Takkarist McKinley spoke to the media after practice. Get back later for the story.

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Don Wright/AP

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Justin Hunter (11), rleft, reaches the ball across the goal line for a touchdown as Atlanta Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins (32) defends after making a catch in the fourth quarterof an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Here are five things to know about the Falcons today:

1. Practice. Falcons coach Dan Quinn will meet with the media before practice at 1:30 p.m. The team is set to practice at 2:20 p.m.

2. Depth chart. Ben Garland remains listed with the first-team at right guard in the official depth chart released by the Falcons on Monday.

3. Stadium walk-through. The Falcons are set to visit their new home on Friday.

4. Collins’ replacement. The Falcons are looking long and hard at the cornerbacks on the roster. They must find a replacement for Jalen Collins, who’s been suspended for 10 games for violating the league’s performance enhancement drug policy.

5. Injury report. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, who’s in the concussion protocol, is close to returning. Freeman did not play against the Steelers, but talked with Quinn.

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Our staff leans toward yes.

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Kendall Jackson

Yes. The Falcons need sacks.

Matt Chambers

The fans love Freeney, and he had plenty of juice down the stretch to be a worthy addition. I imagine the Falcons will want to get the higher priority Devonta Freeman deal done first, and they reportedly expect it done before camp. Camp is quickly approached, and while we would all love Freeney, I have one concern: the Falcons have made huge improvements to the defensive line. I expect the “starters” to be a rotation of Vic BeasleyBrooks Reed, and Takkarist McKinley, with DE/DT players like Adrian Clayborn, Tyson Crawford, Derrick Shelby playing end a bit more with the Dontari Poe addition. We may also see a few other guys get a chance to rush the passer, like De’Vondre Campbell. Freeney then becomes an expensive third-down specialist who may only play on half the third-and-long situations. I still want Freeney back, but I will completely understand if the Falcons move forward with their current pass rushers.

Dave Choate

I don’t see it happening, at least not to start the year. The Falcons added Takkarist McKinley in the draft class, and they have a rotation of inside/outside defensive linemen who are useful chess pieces for Dan Quinn and Marquand Manuel’s defense. Freeney would be the second or third-best pass rusher once again on this defense, and

Quinn, I believe, wants to see the collection of talent he has in action during training camp and preseason before he brings Freeney on. I think if he’s satisfied, as I anticipate he will be, Freeney won’t end up joining the team. I’d love to see him come back, but at this point, I’m dubious.

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The Atlanta Falcons have been working out a concerning number of running backs that made us think Devonta Freeman may be in his last year with the team. We checked with you guys, and about half of you wanted Freeman to get paid.

After going through the pros and cons, it sure looked tough to keep him in Atlanta. If Lamar Miller’s deal with the Houston Texans was any indication, Freeman should be earning somewhere in the $7 to $8 million range. I still have no idea how to fit that under the cap while leaving money for guys like Jake Matthews next offseason.

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Atlanta Falcons two-time Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman vowed to move beyond his team’s historic collapse in last month’s Super Bowl loss to New England Patriots. At the same time, Freeman knows the empty feeling might stick for a while.

“That’s like a scar you’ll see forever,” Freeman told ESPN. “You’ll always remember that scar. It’s about, ‘How can I shake back?’ In life, you’ve got to always learn how to shake back and have another elite year.”

The Falcons’ Devonta Freeman isn’t dwelling on the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots but is intent on learning from it. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

That the Falcons blew a 28-3 third-quarter lead in a 34-28 loss to the Patriots continues to be a topic of discussion this offseason. Critics still harp on the blunders, including then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan declining to run the ball late and Freeman missing a fourth-quarter block on Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower that led to Matt Ryan being sacked and losing a fumble — resulting in a momentum-swinging touchdown for the Patriots.

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