Devonta Freeman has had a rough run of health over the last calendar year. In that time, he’s suffered multiple concussions, hurt his MCL/PCL, and is still dealing with injuries now. It might mean he doesn’t suit up against the Panthers on Sunday.
Free has now missed all three days of practice this week, and the Falcons sent signals that he might miss this Sunday’s game when they brought Brian Hill up from the practice squad. At this point, though the team hasn’t said anything officially, I’d have to think that Freeman’s not going to play.
UPDATE 9/14/2018 1:37 PM - The team has confirmed that Freeman will be out on Sunday:
Coach Dan Quinn just told us Devonta Freeman (knee) will not play Sunday. The hope is this is not a long term thing. Nothing is structurally wrong.— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) September 14, 2018
Running backs going through drills without Devonta (knee) pic.twitter.com/TqNlzVk7ti— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) September 14, 2018
Without Free, the team’s going to lean heavily on Tevin Coleman, who can be a weapon on the ground and through the air. I’d be surprised if he got fewer than 20 touches in this game, and if it’s a close one and he’s having some success, it could be a much higher total. Ito Smith and Hill will probably mix in when Coleman needs a breather, and Hill could be an option in short yardage and on the goal line because he’s ten pounds heavier than Coleman and showed he can handle those carries in preseason with Cincinnati.
It’s yet another loss for Atlanta if Freeman can’t go, and this was already going to be a challenging matchup without Free missing out. Hopefully Atlanta will get on track on offense regardless.
For the Panthers, though, the news is even more dire. They’re missing starting tackle Daryl Williams, who is out for the year, and now stud right guard Trai Turner, plus tight end Greg Olsen. The offense could be real sloppy Sunday.
We’ll hope Freeman can be back in action in Week 3.