Freeman, Coleman return to practice

“We’ll see how they respond,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “The individual part is challenging as it goes and then the next step will be to put them in the (team) work.”

Freeman and Coleman also did some extra running with the trainer.

“I felt pretty good to get back out there,” Freeman said. “I’m progressing slowly, but daily.”

Coleman said, “It’s been real frustrating to watch my team get out there and compete. I want to be a part of that.”

The Falcons rushing attack was lackluster in the opening exhibition game. The running backs rushed 30 times for 69 yards (2.3 yards per carry). The new staff is trying to balance out the offense and establish the rushing attack.

Freeman, who was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2014 draft, and Coleman, who was selected in the third-round of the 2015 draft, suffered mild hamstring strains on Aug. 5 and 6 and were projected to miss two to four weeks.

“Mentally, I’ve been repping it,” Freeman said. “I feel like you need that to be a full pro. Take mental reps, while you can’t take physical reps.”

The Falcons are aiming to have them back for the third exhibition game on Aug. 29 at Miami, which is their regular season dress rehearsal.

“As we take it through the week, then we’ll have a good sense for it,” Quinn said. “We are certainly hoping to have them back for (Friday’s game against the Jets), but we are only going to put them out (there) if they are ready to rock.”

Also, linebacker Brooks Reed (groin) and defensive end Cliff Matthews (ankle) were suited up for practice, but just participated in individual drills.

Freeman, Coleman, Reed and Matthews did not play in the exhibition season opener against Tennessee on Friday.

Freeman and Coleman can now continue their competition for the top running back spot.

‘We are going to do whatever it takes to get back,” Freeman said.

Running back Antone Smith (hamstring) and cornerback Desmond Trufant (shoulder) were not dressed for practice.

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