<
>

Falcons rookie Tevin Coleman getting handle on fumbling issue

Falcons running back Tevin Coleman had the ball in the wrong hand when he fumbled Sunday against the Colts. Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Tevin Coleman knows the reason behind his critical fumble against the Indianapolis Colts last week. Now, the Atlanta Falcons rookie running back plans to make sure such a mistake doesn't happen again.

Coleman's fumble at the end of the third quarter in a 24-21 loss didn't result in points, thanks to a Ricardo Allen interception, but it did wipe away a chance for the offense to put together a scoring drive.

Why did it happen? He had the ball in the wrong hand.

"That's one of the things I'm working on," Coleman said. "And it's something I have to keep working on."

Coleman carried the ball in his left hand while running a sweep to the right, exposing the ball to the traffic inside and allowing Colts linebacker Erik Walden to get a helmet on the ball. It was Coleman's second fumble in a span of 15 touches, following the one he had in the red zone against New Orleans back in Week 6. In that game, Coleman had the ball in the correct hand (right) while running outside to the right, but he simply was too loose with it.

As for the latest blunder, carrying the ball in the correct hand was a point of emphasis Monday for Falcons running backs coach Bobby Turner.

"It's a key coaching point and something (Turner) hit on in our meeting multiple times," fullback Patrick DiMarco said. "Tevin's a guy who can get coached. In the heat of the moment, he didn't have the ball in the right hand. But he's going to clean it up."

Coleman has to. The Falcons might call his number a lot if a concussion keeps top rusher Devonta Freeman sidelined for Sunday's matchup against Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings. Coleman carried the ball 17 times for just 48 yards in place of Freeman last Sunday. He had just two carries in the fourth quarter following the fumble.

Is his confidence shaken?

"My confidence has always been there, but there's just a few thing I have to work that are more into the detail part," Coleman said. "It's just being detailed with my work and what I do.

"Yes, (fumbles) can get to you, but it happens to all of us. You want to lock it up, but if it happens, it happens. You just have to get through it and get your mind off it and keep on playing."

Falcons coach Dan Quinn expressed confidence in his rookie despite the turnovers and lack of production.

"For sure, we've got great belief in him," Quinn said of Coleman. "I have all the confidence in the world in him to play, if Devonta is not ready. And then we'll kind of cross that bridge as we get to it at the end."

Coleman, who began this season starting the first two games before suffering a rib injury, has 231 rushing yards and one touchdown on 59 carries and one catch for 10 yards.