Can Tevin Coleman Rush For 1,000 Yards As A Rookie?


Atlanta Falcons Rookie RB Tevin Coleman has set a lofty goal for himself this fall: to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.  In most team’s offenses, that’s not out of the realm of possibility given that we’re talking about a starting running back.  But in Atlanta, Coleman will likely split carries with second-year tailback Devonta Freeman in the Falcons backfield.  Under new OC Kyle Shanahan, what would it take for Tevin Coleman to reach his goals for 2015?

-= RELATED: Atlanta Falcons RB Competition Heating Up =-

Kyle Shanahan enters his eighth season as an offensive coordinator in the National Football League.  He has spent two seasons with the Houston Texans (2008-09), four coaching under his father Mike with the Washington Redskins (2010-13), and a lone season last year with the Cleveland Browns (2014).

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  • Shanahan has usually had decent but not great quarterback play in his seven seasons as an OC, but his teams do run the football with authority.  An average Kyle Shanahan-led offense will run the ball 437 times for 1,859 yards and 14 touchdowns, with 4.2 yards per attempt.

    If you consider the 2012 Washington Redskins rushing attack as an anomaly due to QB Robert Griffin, III’s mobility during his rookie campaign, a Kyle Shanahan offense will rush the ball 423 times for 1,715 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging  4.1 yards an attempt.  Then take into account that running the football was Kyle’s offenses’ bread and butter as he really only had three seasons of strong quarterback play: Matt Schaub in Houston (2008-09) and RGIII’s rookie season in Washington (2012).

    Kyle Shanahan will have by far and away the best aerial attack he has ever had by coming to the Atlanta Falcons in 2015 with the likes of QB Matt Ryan and WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White.  So he might not have to rely on running the ball as much as in years past.  What does this mean for Tevin Coleman?

    If Coleman were to have a true platoon with Devonta Freeman in the Falcons backfield with each back getting 45% of the handoffs, they would each rush for 772 yards and 6 touchdowns, assuming Shanahan’s offensive averages (1,715 total yards) minus the 2012 Washington Redskins campaign.

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    For Coleman to hit the 1,000 yard plateau in an average Shanahan offense, he would have to establish himself as the starting running back and get roughly 60% of the Falcons’ rushing attempts (~1,029 yards).  He would have to receive 75% of the carries to get 10 touchdowns in this forecast.

    Can Tevin Coleman beat out Devonta Freeman and win the starting job at running back?  Certainly.  And can Kyle Shanahan’s offense be explosive both on the ground and in the year?  Of course it can.  But with major competition in Devonta Freeman, it doesn’t seem likely at this point for Tevin Coleman to reach his lofty rookie season goals of 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.  But I’d love to see him try on a ground game that accumulates over 2,000 yards this year.  Here’s to wishful thinking.  Rise Up, ATL!

    Next: Three Atlanta Falcons That Need to Rise Up in 2015

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