Devonta Freeman has been discussed as a potential breakout player in Kyle Shanahan's new offense. Freeman had an uneven rookie season. He looked good when he got a chance, but was usually third in line for snaps after Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers.
Freeman spoke to ESPN's Vaughn McClure and discussed his offseason approach. It is another great article by Vaughn and you definitely should check it out. Freeman seems very motivated to prove himself worthy of being the team's lead back.
"Personally, I want to be the man. I want to be the guy. I want to make my own name with the Atlanta Falcons. I want to go really, really far. I want to set the bar high. I just want to win a Super Bowl and maybe be the MVP one day. You just never know. I feel like I’m hungrier right now. I don’t know what’s gotten into me this offseason. I just feel like a whole new monster. And I ain’t just talking."
Many players get a nice bump their sophomore year after they get used to the game, and Freeman looks likely to be one of those players. He is also moving to a running back-friendly scheme that has made less talent players into top 10 rushers.
Do you remember that Freeman was not picked until the fourth round? Because he sure does.
" I’m still pissed off that I went in the fourth round and all those other running backs went before me," Freeman said. "There’s a different type of mindset I’ve been having. And I don’t think that chip is going to go anywhere because that’s always going to be in the back of my mind when I look back at reality --- every running back that got drafted before me. Even though it’s a blessing to be in the NFL, that chip is always going to be there."
If Freeman gets the bulk of carries, it will be fairly unprecedented for the Falcons organization. The last starting running back that was still on their rookie contract was Jamal Anderson in 1996. Two others on their rookie contract lead the team in carries due to injuries to the starters: Maurice Smith and TJ Duckett.
Freeman should prevent that stat from extending to 20 years. He sounds excited to work with the new staff and motivated to show the team what he can do on the field.
"I want to show them, I want to show everybody, that I’ve got that dog in me. I’ve been out here working hard. But I’m not going to keep talking about it. I’m just going to let the work speak for itself."
Thoughts on Freeman in 2015?