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Will Terron Ward retain a role when Tevin Coleman returns?

The second year pro has been impressive in limited chances, but can he even stick on the roster?

Houston Texans v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I’m not going to lie to you: I had basically written Terron Ward off by the time September hit. He was an undrafted free agent in 2015, but I just didn’t see much out of him that indicated that he’d turn into a back worth keeping around. That’s part of the reason I rooted so hard for Brandon Wilds this offseason, and when the Falcons decided to carry just two backs through the first several weeks of the season, it seemed like they’d rather just keep Ward as an insurance policy, at best.

You have to give some credit to an offensive line that is making everyone look good, but still: Ward has looked better in limited action than I ever would’ve guessed, and I should probably admit it was wrong to write him off. In his brief playing time since Tevin Coleman went down, Ward has 14 carries for a tidy 76 yards, plus one catch for 11 yards, and has done a nice job spelling Devonta Freeman.

The question becomes what happens to him once Tevin Coleman returns to the field, which could happen as soon as this Sunday. The Falcons would presumably like to keep him around, but their earlier inclination to carry just Freeman and Coleman would seem to work against that, and both backs are complete enough that Ward isn’t likely to get much time on the field.

On the other hand, Ward looks greatly improved, is just 24 years old, and is cheap, so Atlanta would probably prefer not to lose him. The likeliest path forward, then, is that he’s kept as a gameday inactive and a hedge against another Coleman injury...assuming the Falcons can live without seven or eight safeties on the roster. I think Ward’s a good bet to fill that #3 role for the next couple of seasons, if the coaching staff believes he’s improved as much as it looks like he has.

What do you think the team will do with Ward?