Tevin Coleman figures to compete for a larger role in the backfield this season, and he also could be in line for a real role on special teams. That's a lot to learn from a Tuesday, isn't it?
First, the running back competition. Vaughn McClure at ESPN broke down the good-natured battle between Devonta Freeman and Coleman, a battle Freeman has an obvious leg up on because he's A) a complete back and B) was productive as the starter a year ago. Still, though, as we've cautioned throughout the offseason thus far, you shouldn't count Coleman out of a role:
"We certainly expect that running back room to develop even more," Quinn said. "Certainly Coleman was humbled. He had some fumbles and he still averaged over 4 yards per carry. We know the injuries were a factor. And I love it when a guy is challenged and back on a mission, and that's certainly been the case with him. He's fit. He's strong. He's been catching the ball well out of the backfield. He's a man here with something to prove, and he's certainly off to that [good] start."
Expect Coleman to grab a larger slice of the carries, at the very least, heading into 2016. I'd be stunned if he took Freeman's job away this year, but it's at least refreshing to have two worthy, young running backs competing for a gig.
"Possibly as a kickoff returner," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "With that speed and making one cut is very similar to playing running back. If he can add another value to the team, that’s certainly something that we’ll look at."
Devin Hester estimates he's 75% and was actually on the field today, so Coleman's best shot at earning kickoff returns would be if Hester doesn't ultimately make the roster. If he's improved his ball security, his speed makes him an interesting choice for that role, with Eric Weems and rookie Devin Fuller presumably competing to return punts in that scenario.
It could mean nothing at this stage of the game, but it looks like Coleman has a shot to contribute in a couple of different ways. He'll be worth monitoring the rest of the summer.