FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Falcons running back Tevin Coleman rushed for 392 yards and a score during three starts and appearances in 12 games of his rookie season. But three costly fumbles marred the first year in an Atlanta uniform.
Instead of spending the majority of the offseason fretting or finding ways to work on ball security, Coleman took a more cerebral approach.
“There’s not much you can do,” Coleman said Thursday when asked after the Falcons’ first truing camp session about drills he did to work on holding onto the football. “You just have to remember to keep it as close to you body as you can. That’s the key thing; remember to keep it tight through anything.”
In addition to holding on tight, Coleman said what’s made a world of difference as he enters Year 2 is maintaining a level of comfort with the football. He’s hit the playbook hard, studied and has gained a year of experience in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme.
“First, just know the offense as best as I can so I can be comfortable back there,” said Coleman. “The plays will come from there instead of being all scared and nervous. Be comfortable back there and know what I’m doing so I can play fast and better.”
Coleman was a star of the first day of training camp. He was a huge part of Atlanta’s passing attack and hauled in multiple passes at different depths and on varied routes.
While he maintained he worked his “tail off” to become more comfortable, Coleman admitted to being very excited to play different roles in the 2016 Atlanta offense.
“They’re finding more ways to get the backs out there and get them the ball,” said Coleman. “Any way I can get the ball. It doesn’t matter if I’m catching the ball or running the ball, receiving a kickoff or anything. As long as I have the ball in my hand I’m going to make something happen.”
Falcons coaches didn’t shy away during the offseason when asked about Coleman. They plan for him to be more involved in the 2016 offense. With a new comfort level — and a better understanding of the system — Coleman could emerge as a multi-faceted attack piece for Matt Ryan and the Falcons.