FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons running back Tevin Coleman said Wednesday he is ”100 percent” healthy after missing three straight games with a hamstring injury.
The Falcons (6-4) are coming off their bye week, and Coleman said the extra time ”was really perfect for me.”
Coleman had no restrictions in Wednesday’s practice for Sunday’s game against Arizona.
”The extra week let me get extra work in to feel 100 percent,” Coleman said.
The return of Coleman gives Atlanta its top two running backs against the Cardinals’ No. 1 ranked defense. The first-place Falcons are trying to protect a one-game lead over Tampa Bay in the NFC South.
Coleman was sharing time with starter Devonta Freeman before suffering the injury on Oct. 23 against San Diego. Coleman’s five rushing touchdowns lead the team, and he adds a big-play threat to the passing game. Despite missing the three games, he is fifth on the team with 19 catches for 330 yards with one touchdown.
The Falcons need the added punch Coleman provides to the passing game after placing tight end Jacob Tamme on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
The return of a healthy Coleman put a smile on the face of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
”I’d been anticipating it, I’d been hoping for it, I’d been praying for it,” Shanahan said after the practice. ”It’s going well so far, so knock on wood that it keeps continuing.”
Shanahan said Coleman does ”change the field” even when he doesn’t touch the ball, due to his threat to make an explosive play.
”You hope he gets the numbers to show for it, but even if he doesn’t he affects the game when you’re a talented player like him,” Shanahan said.
”We know we have our work cut out for us, but we have some matchups that we like, too,” coach Dan Quinn said. ”That’s why we’re so excited to have our full complement of guys back, with the exception of Tamme to IR. Past that, we’re ready to get rocking, too.”
Jones had 10 catches for 189 yards and one touchdown against Peterson and the Cardinals in 2014.
”He’s one of the top corners in the league,” Jones said. ”I’m up there with the top receivers in the league. … It’s definitely bigger than me and him. We’ve got 10 other guys out there with us. It’s going to be fun, though, because he’s a guy who comes and competes every play and I’m going to do the same.”
The bye week also helped cornerback Desmond Trufant return from a shoulder injury, but punter Matt Bosher missed practice with a hamstring injury. Quinn said Bosher also won’t practice Thursday.
The team signed free agent punter Matt Wile to the 53-man roster this week after placing tight end Jacob Tamme on IR following shoulder surgery.
Bosher, who also handles kickoffs, is expected to test his injury in Friday’s practice. ”Then we’ll make a determination after that on his availability for the game,” Quinn said.
Asked if he is worried about the possibility of using Wile, who has never kicked in a NFL game, Quinn said ”Well, yeah. But we’ll leave that worry to later and we’ll see him practice and perform all week.”
NOTES: The Falcons released RB Stevan Ridley and promoted CB Deji Olatoye from the practice squad. Ridley had three carries for seven yards against Tampa Bay on Nov. 3.
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