December 18, 2018 / 12:42 AM / 3 months ago

Falcons face decision on RB Coleman

Dec 16, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (26) runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons: Tevin Coleman rushed for a career-best 145 yards in Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals to at least temporarily pump life into the team’s sagging running game. Coleman’s big outing boosted the Falcons out of the cellar of the NFL rankings — they are now 31st at 90.7 yards per game — and may prompt Atlanta to decide to make a bid to retain his services. The fourth-year back’s contract runs out after the season, and receiver Julio Jones hopes the team brings him back. “I mean, he’s an amazing running back,” Jones said of Coleman. “He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but he’s one of the best backs in the league, by far. His speed, his vision, everything about him.” Coleman has rushed for a career-best 704 this season while Devonta Freeman — the NFL’s third-highest paid back — has been limited to two games due to various injuries. Meanwhile, rookie back Ito Smith will go on injured reserve to have knee surgery, meaning even more work for Coleman in the final two weeks.

Carolina Panthers: Host the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

New Orleans Saints: Visit the Carolina Panthers on Monday night.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rookie defensive tackle Vita Vea flashed his potential with nine tackles in Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens after accumulating just 12 in his first 10 NFL appearances. The 12th overall pick injured a calf muscle early in training camp and missed the entire preseason as well as the first three regular-season games. That left him behind in conditioning, and then he was initially overwhelmed by how fast the game is played in the NFL. “I think now I’m just comfortable with it,” Vea told reporters. “The game’s slowed down for me. Just getting back in the flow of things.” Coach Dirk Koetter was impressed with what he saw from Vea against the Ravens. “Vita is really starting to play exactly like we watched on his college tape,” Koetter said during a press conference. “He’s playing violent, he’s running to the football, getting off blocks so much better and making plays laterally as well as just knocking the line of scrimmage back.”

—Field Level Media

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