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Tevin Coleman to start for Falcons in season opener

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The Atlanta Falcons will lean heavily on a rookie running back in their season opener versus the Eagles on Monday night.

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The team's official depth chart lists third-round pick Tevin Coleman as the Week 1 starter over Devonta Freeman.

Coach Dan Quinn confirmed Tuesday, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution, that Coleman will draw the start.

Freeman was expected to enter the season atop the depth chart, but sat out all four preseason games with a hamstring injury. He conceded Monday that he expected Coleman to get the nod because the second-year back missed all of the game reps in August.

Although Freeman said Tuesday that he feels like he's at "90 percent" on some runs, he's still favoring the hamstring on other cuts.

Once Freeman is up to speed, the backfield workload should be fairly evenly distributed until one of the runners develops a hot hand.

"It's going to be something special, me and Devonta," Coleman said, via ESPN.com. "When we get healthy and we get back, we're going to be dangerous out there."

After battling hamstring woes of his own, Coleman rushed 12 times for 58 yards in the final two preseason games, showing some of the boom-or-bust tendencies he was said to possess coming out of Indiana.

As optimistic as the Falcons are about their running game, they shouldn't be surprised if it's slow going in September while breaking in a rookie starter behind an overhauled offensive line still searching for chemistry in Kyle Shanahan's new zone-blocking scheme.

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