Tevin Coleman is in the middle of his worst season in a usually productive career year. He averaged 4.5 and 4.4 yards per carry in his first two seasons, most notably averaging 13.6 yards per catch in 2016.
Since then it’s been tough sledding. Coleman has gotten more opportunities with Devonta Freeman’s injuries however his effectiveness as dropped to 4.0 yards per carry in 2017, and 4.1 yards per carry this season. It’s not expected he would lead the league in yards per carry, a title held by Phillip Lindsay at 5.8 yards per carry. However, he’s sandwiched between Latavius Murray and T.J. Murray as the 36th most effective back based on yards per carry.
Coleman had a chance to step up with Freeman’s injury, to both show the Falcons they made the right decision drafting him and to secure a sizable contract in upcoming free agency. He’s failed to break 100 rushing yards since Week 2, and has topped four receptions only twice this season.
What’s one of the problems? Watching Coleman play it is pretty clear he struggles with contact. I asked NFL Matchup on ESPN, one solid Twitter account and show, where Coleman ranks in yards after contact. You won’t be surprised.
Hey Matt, Tevin is 48th in this category, at 1.01 yards per carry after contact (139 yards total for the year). League average is 1.94.— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) December 12, 2018
For clarification, 1.01 yards is 3.03 feet. Coleman is 6-foot-1. Assuming he keeps the ball around midway on his body, his average yards per carry after contact is approximately falling forward.
The top of the list includes lots of household names, like Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, Royce Freeman, Chris Carson, and others between 2.8 to 2.4 yards per carry after contact.
Not to hammer home this stat above a lot of other significant considerations but it indicates Coleman is simply a limited talent. While many (myself included) believed Coleman could be better than Freeman, he simply has not shown he can be much more than a change-of-pace back better suited for splitting out wide and needing to get the ball in space.
We don’t need a crystal ball to know Coleman is gone this offseason. Dan Quinn has preached toughness but a team can’t take control of a game if their running back can’t power through contact.