Tevin Coleman's out this week with a broken rib, and Devonta Freeman is poised for his first NFL start. Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media this week about the run game and what the Falcons will need to do to get things going.
The team needs to establish some offensive balance, which is still a work in progress. Shanahan said they just have to keep working at it.
"I know we didn't do it very well last week as far as the stats and everything, but I thought we were close on a bunch," Shanahan said. "The run game — it's hard work for everybody. You've got to keep sticking with it. Everyone's got to work, but it takes all eleven guys."
The Falcons had 57 rushing yards against the Giants between Coleman, before he was injured, and Freeman. The yards came on 21 carries between the two.
Those are pretty lackluster statistics, but Shanahan believes the team is close to putting it all together.
"I thought we had a few opportunities in the [Giants] game to bust a long one and — there were about four of them — and in those, we had one weak link, and when that happens it ends up being a 30-yard run that goes to a two-yard run," Shanahan said. "The way you get through those run stats is you've got to be able to break a long one, and we haven't been able to do that yet."
The Falcons are in a unique position with their starting running back out, in that Devonta Freeman was a legitimate contender for the starting role prior to suffering a hamstring injury early in training camp. The team really doesn't have to change their approach at all with Freeman in the backfield.
Shanahan's happy that Freeman is fully healthy and is confident he's ready to carry this load.
"Free runs hard. He does good stuff in the pass game. These last two weeks is really the first time we've had him full go since almost OTAs, or the third day of training camp, so it's been good for him," Shanahan said. "He's gotten his legs back under him. I feel he's fully healthy, and he got a lot more reps last time once Tevin went down, and I feel like he's finally healthy enough to where he can handle the position he's going to be in this week, and I'm excited to watch him."
What are you expecting from the Falcons' run game on Sunday?