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Tevin Coleman’s role to grow, Devonta Freeman’s role to shrink in 2016?

It’s going to be a dogfight for touches this year, and the offense should benefit.

Atlanta Falcons v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Here’s a little more fuel for a growing fire.

The Falcons have indicated throughout the offseason that they intend to give Tevin Coleman a larger role, but this is the first time they’ve said it in such straightforward fashion, and it’s the running backs coach saying it. The Falcons, remember, had Tevin Coleman installed as the starter a year ago before he was injured, and didn’t draft him in the third round under a brand new offensive coordinator so he could gather dust on the bench, no matter how talented Devonta Freeman may be (and is).

For everything Freeman brings to the table, from terrific vision to great hands and physicality, Coleman has the rare speed this team obviously covets. Freeman can hold Coleman off for the starting job this year without much trouble, I believe, but he was always going to have trouble dominating touches the way he did a year ago.

Logically, giving two young, talented backs a fairly equal shot at playing time is a sound move, because it hopefully keeps both fresh and allows you to deploy them strategically. The Falcons’ ground game remains one of their best hopes for achieving greater heights in 2016, and I’ll certainly be hoping both Coleman and Freeman are in line for their best seasons yet.