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The Falcons won’t change their offense for Tevin Coleman, but enough with the runs up the middle

One small request for Monday night.

Dallas Cowboys v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

When Tevin Coleman takes on the lead back role this Monday night against the Seahawks, the Falcons insist they won’t be tailoring their offense for him. Coleman is a capable, sometimes surprisingly physical runner who is faster and less balanced than Devonta Freeman, but you can use him as your feature back just fine.

That said, there is one thing I’d like the Falcons to do less of, particularly with Coleman. That’s running the ball up the middle, which reader Matthew Odom informs me was particularly ineffective against Dallas. Coleman carried the ball nine times running behind the Falcons’ guards and picked up just 13 yards, compared to 11 runs for 70 yards when running off tackle or out to the ends.

I understand and respect that you have to make the defense respect the run, and you want to bang between the tackles whenever you can. But Coleman’s truly elite speed, improving vision, and ability to make a cut and leave a defense in the dust means the Falcons are better off trying to get him outside and into space as often as possible. Runs inside, particularly when both Andy Levitre and Wes Schweitzer have been struggling with their run blocking in recent weeks, are not the best use of Coleman’s skill set.

Otherwise, though, I get where Matt Ryan and company are coming from. The Falcons will have no qualms about running Coleman plenty in this one, they should be able to find him some targets, and he’s a good enough blocker to help out in the passing game. I don’t mention often enough how blessed the Falcons are to have two of the better backs in the NFL, but they are blessed, and it’s going to come in very handy against the Seahawks.