Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is a humble guy. That was apparent from the moment we saw him on HBO's Hard Knocks, scoping out a modest apartment prior to training camp. But that doesn't speak to a lack of motivation; and believe me, he wants to start. Freeman, just like every running back ever, wants to be the guy.
Freeman's main competition for snaps will come from unproven rookie Tevin Coleman. Coleman has a dynamic skill set, and he's already exchanged fighting words with Freeman in the off-season. While they're not exactly feuding, it's clear these are two guys craving the spotlight. No harm there, because let's be honest, who complains about a crowded running back corps? Per EPNS's Vaughn McClure, Freeman thinks his potential contributions to the passing attack could set him apart.
"Yes, it should give me an edge," Freeman told ESPN.com. "I know what I can do. It's all about getting everybody to believe in me. I just can't wait to show the world what I can do and what I'm capable of."
This a camp battle may be somewhat anticlimactic when all the dust settles. In the end, Freeman and Coleman may just split time, and that'd be perfectly fine. Frankly both backs have their unique talents, and until they give me a reason to do otherwise, I'm going to trust the coaching staff in their distribution of touches. But let's parse out the point Freeman is making a bit.
The pre-draft consensus on Coleman's receiving skills was ... underwhelming. Basically he's an adequate receiver with room to improve. Conversely, Freeman was an above-average receiver during his rookie campaign. He had 30 receptions on 38 targets, earning a +2.9 receiving rating from Pro Football Focus. In short, Freeman can get it done out of the backfield.