Falcons' Tevin Coleman determined to keep tight hold on more opportunities

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- One of the storylines at Atlanta Falcons' training camp through four practices was how smooth and comfortable running back Tevin Coleman looked catching the football.

"It's way better than last year," Coleman said. "It's pretty good now."

The Falcons knew they had such an element in Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman. However, Coleman seems to have elevated that aspect of his game, lining up on the outside and catching go routes with ease.

Now Coleman just has to continue to convince the coaches he can secure the football with more touches. They're counting on him to complement Freeman in the running game and possibly step into the role as the primary kickoff returner. But Coleman had fumbling issues last season. He had three fumbles over a six-game stretch, including fumbles in back-to-back games against the Colts and Vikings. Against Minnesota, he had a 46-yard run before getting the ball jarred loose. Against New Orleans, Coleman fumbled after a 17-yard run that would have put the Falcons inside the Saints' 10-yard line.

"Mostly, the problem with the fumbling is you loose track of the ball when you're making cuts," Coleman explained. "It gets away from your body. So, I just need to make sure that ball is as tight to my body as possible when spinning and doing things like that."

Coleman said constantly reviewing film of those fumbles has helped him address the problem.

"I watch them a lot because I can't believe that happened," Coleman said. "It makes me sick to my stomach watching it, but it's getting me stronger and it's making me learn more to keep it tight. It's not like the coaches told me, 'Never [fumble] again!' It's just 'Keep it tight. Keep it tight.' It's always in your mind."

If Coleman follows those words, maybe he'll make the competition between Freeman a little tighter. There's been a lot of discussion about Coleman taking touches away from Freeman, but the coaches view it more as a potent one-two combination rather than a heated battle for carries. Freeman would have every right to be selfish coming off a 1,061-yard, 14-touchdown season, but that's not his nature. He constantly refers to Coleman as his brother as the two continue to push each other.

"They know I have talent, and they just want to see it out there," Coleman said. "Me and Devonta, we're just competing and working hard. That's about it."