Per the always plugged-in NFL insider Jay Glazer, the Falcons will make room for Matt Bryant’s short-term replacement on the roster by placing Devonta Freeman on injured reserve. This news sucks.
Freeman has lost most of his season to injuries, having played parts of two games and otherwise sitting out with what seems to be an ever-growing list of ailments. The Falcons will shut him down for the year to give him the chance to rest, get healthy, and hopefully return to form in 2019.
It’s a shame because Freeman has gone from the team’s workhorse back and one of its most well-rounded weapons to an injury-riddled shell of himself since last season. He had his great games in 2017, but he suffered concussions and leg injuries that sapped his effectiveness down the stretch. This year, he run fine in his very limited carries, but couldn’t stay on the field with groin and leg ailments. Watching a back the Falcons had come to count on—and invested a lot of money into—falter is nobody’s idea of a good time, and Free is a good dude aside from that.
Big loss for Falcons, they are going to put Devonte Freeman on IR today. @NFLonFOX— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 16, 2018
With Free out, the Falcons have Tevin Coleman, Ito Smith and Brian Hill at running back, though they could add to that group if they’re not satisfied with what they have. Coleman has not been much of a force on the ground, if we’re being honest, and Smith has been better but by no means stellar. The Falcons will probably need to see what they have with Hill at some point this season, but unless the offensive line starts blocking better and things click for these, the Falcons are not going to have one of the game’s best rushing attacks in 2018. Fortunately, both Coleman and Smith are weapons through the air, as well.
We’ll spend some time tomorrow talking about Freeman’s impact on the offense and why he might be missed the rest of the way—we were planning on doing so even before this news—and certainly we’ll be watching Coleman and Smith to see how they fare when the passing game isn’t clicking in the weeks ahead. The Falcons didn’t need yet another devastating injury, and yet here we are.
We wish Freeman a swift recovery, and we certainly hope he’s healthy and back to the Freeman of old heading into 2019. If not, the Falcons are going to have some very tough decisions to make at the running back position given how well Ito Smith has played and given Tevin Coleman’s upcoming free agency.