Shanahan using Freeman, Coleman in near 50-50 split

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Shanahan using Freeman, Coleman in near 50-50 split

It’s a small sample size, but the Falcons have used running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in nearly a 50-50 split over the first two games.

At times, like they did in several games last season, the Falcons have used both of them together.

Freeman has played 70 of 129 offensive snaps (54 percent). Coleman has played 62 snaps (48 percent).

Freeman has 32 touches for 133 yards and no touchdowns and Coleman has 27 touches for 188 yards and one touchdown.

“Tevin has a lot of talent as you can see,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said.

He plans to continue to play both running backs together at times.

“You always have to look at what personnel the defense is going to (use),” Shanahan said. “How they are going to react to it. What fronts are they going to use when you have two running backs in the game.”

Sometimes, defenses will stay in their base defense or use a nickel defense.

“Whether if they treat your second running back as a fullback or a receiver,” Shanahan said. “It has to do with all of the different looks that you get. It’s something that we sprinkled in a bunch last year in a number of games. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense, but it really has to do with what you’re going against.”

The Falcons are not afraid to use Coleman in the red zone. He had a 13-yard touchdown run against the Raiders and nearly had another score, but a low pass took him to the ground after he motioned out of the backfield behind a trips formation.

“You’d really like to have those guys on the field every time, but you can’t have Freeman playing fullback all day either,” Shanahan said. “You have to look at what the defense is going to do.”

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