Falcons RB Tevin Coleman expects more touches in '18

As Tevin Coleman enters the final year of his rookie contract, the Atlanta Falcons running back expects to be more involved in the offensive game plan in 2018.

"They are just going to use me more ... lining up out wide and stuff," Coleman said during organized team activities, via the Falcons' official website. "It's going to be pretty fun."

Coleman earned a career-high 156 carries for 628 yards, adding 27 receptions for 299 yards, in 2017. The 25-year-old back saw around 10 touches a game in tilts both he and Devonta Freeman participated. Coleman's high-water mark of 21 touches came in tilts Freeman was hurt. With both back again in 2018, we'd expect similar distribution.

The opportunity for more touches for Coleman could come in the passing game. He saw fewer receptions after the change from offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to Steve Sarkisian -- down from 31 catches and 421 yards in 2016. We didn't see nearly the same creative use of playmakers like Coleman under Sarkisian as in Shanahan's previous season.

Using Coleman and Freeman on the field at the same time more could boost Atlanta's dynamic diversity.

"Now, we want to make sure we are really featuring him and Devonta in as many ways as we can," coach Dan Quinn said. "Splitting them outside, leaving them in the backfield, the amount of catches and touches that we can get for those guys, we know how explosive they are."

With so many mouths to feed -- Julio Jones, Freeman, Mohamed Sanu, first-round pick Calvin Ridley -- there aren't many more touches for Coleman to scrape up. Keeping him on the field more as a flex back who can stress the defense, however, would help create mismatches for Matt Ryan that could open the entire offense in Sarkisian's second season calling plays.