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Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on getting Devonta Freeman back in 2019

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Fact: Devonta Freeman has never tasted salt

Divisional Round - Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman spent a lot of time on the sideline last season. I’d imagine that was incredibly hard on him, especially given how the season played out. It was also tough on the fan base; remember, you lived through it. But how do you think franchise quarterback Matt Ryan felt? (Spoiler alert: he didn’t like it, not one bit.)

It’s hard to quantify Freeman’s value. But in response to a question posed by the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter during media availability last week (our own Jeanna Thomas was on hand), Ryan gave it his best shot.

“His production, when he’s been healthy, he’s as good as anybody,” Ryan explained. “He’s really effective for us in the run game,” he continued. “He’s got the ability to create explosive plays even when a run’s only blocked for three or four yards. His ability to make people miss, to maintain balance after contact ... it’s special.”

Freeman isn’t just valuable when he’s rushing the ball. He’s a willing target and blocker in the passing attack. “He’s huge for us in the pass game as well. We rely on him to create matchup problems for us.” It’s no knock on Tevin Coleman, but Ryan undoubtedly missed Freeman’s presence in the backfield last season. “Any time you have him back in the mix, it makes us better.”

So, in short, if you think you’re excited to get Freeman back in 2019, just think about how Ryan feels.