The Atlanta Falcons are the reigning NFL rushing champion.
Their passing game is one of the best in the league.
But there’s one player who’s been the most consistent throughout the Falcons’ run to the Super Bowl: Devonta Freeman.
Freeman, the team’s leading rusher, has averaged 3.5 yards per carry in each of the past two years.
He’s tied with Adrian Peterson for the most carries in the NFL.
And while he’s not the fastest runner, Freeman’s average of 10.4 yards per attempt is a league-leading figure.
He also leads the league in total yards (5,842), rushing yards (3,081), and rushing touchdowns (24).
He’s a force in the passing game, too, racking up 798 receiving yards over his past five games.
In fact, his 3,000-yard rushing season ranks tied for third in the past 10 seasons.
But it’s his running ability that makes Freeman such a standout.
In addition to being a huge playmaker, Freeman is a dangerous receiver and has the ability to change a game in a hurry.
His big-play ability and explosive ability make Freeman a dangerous option for any team, and he’s a player you can count on to lead the Falcons in the right situations.
Below is a breakdown of how the Falcons have used Freeman over the past five seasons.
*Rushing leader: Devour: Devout Freeman’s rushing production is tied for fourth in the history of the Falcons.
It’s a big reason why the Falcons were able to win four straight Super Bowls.
However, it’s also an issue.
Despite being a big playmaker and a great receiver, he has to do a lot more to be successful.
As we’ve written previously, his running style has become more of a one-cut, straight-ahead pass-catcher who relies on his hands and feet.
His biggest issue in this regard is his consistency.
He hasn’t been able to sustain his success, with his averages dropping off as his carries increase.
The Falcons are looking to improve on this, but the lack of consistency is a big problem.
In 2016, the Falcons signed running back Tevin Coleman to help address this issue.
Coleman was an all-around standout who helped Atlanta to a 10-6 record.
But he struggled with consistency and ultimately left the team after only one season.
*Passing leader: No-no-no: No team in the entire NFL has thrown more touchdowns than the Atlanta Falcons.
Their 10.5 touchdown-to-interception ratio ranks fourth in NFL history.
This is a huge deal.
With the Falcons offense being so efficient, many teams would prefer to pass more often than pass the ball.
And they’re not wrong.
The Atlanta defense is the most improved of all the teams in the NFC, ranking first in yards allowed per attempt (13.4), fourth in yards per play allowed (3.7), third in total defense (62.1), third against the run (2.7) and third against quarterback rating (115.1).
The Falcons rank second in the division in total defensive yards allowed (306.3), third among NFC teams in yards-per-attempt (3) and fourth in sacks (5.9).
With a quarterback like Matt Ryan, who has thrown for nearly 3,600 yards and eight touchdowns over his five-year career, this is a perfect opportunity for the Falcons to start winning again.
That said, this isn’t a perfect team.
The defense isn’t as solid as it once was, and the offense is still far from its best.
Freeman will need to get better to become the team to beat.
The question will be whether the Falcons can do it in 2017.
*Best receiver: Marques Colston: In 2016 Marques Coe led the league with six receiving touchdowns, the most in a season by a receiver in NFL History.
He finished second in all-time receiving yards, third in yards from scrimmage and second in touchdowns.
Coe had one of his best seasons as a receiver, averaging 6.8 yards per catch.
He did all of this while leading the NFL in targets, receiving yards and touchdowns.
This year, however, the former All-Pro is coming off a disappointing season.
He has just three touchdowns and has only 11 receiving yards on 12 targets.
Coes struggles in pass protection is an issue, and his inability to finish plays has hurt the Falcons, who rank 29th in the offensive line grading in the Pro Football Focus top-20.
But as we’ve seen from the past, there are some plays that can be made to help a receiver like Coe.
For instance, he was a key part of the Titans’ offensive line in 2016.
Now, he’s out of the league, and there are teams who could benefit from adding him.
But in his place, rookie third-round pick Rish