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Falcons OC: Davonta Freeman enduring 'growing pains'

With Steven Jackson's hamstring injury keeping him out this preseason, the Atlanta Falcons will lean on running back Devonta Freeman.

The fourth-round pick out of Florida State has potential, but offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said Thursday it's "too early to say" if the rookie can carry the load.

"Devonta is coming along fine," Koetter said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He runs hard, is eager, is willing, does not back down from anything. He can catch the ball, strong hands, fast. He's got all of the qualities. It's just he's a rookie in the NFL and he's going to go through some growing pains."

In the first episode of *Hard Knocks* this week we saw Freeman get constant tutoring from coaches and Jackson. It seemed as though they knew the rookie could be asked to play a big role. (Oddly enough Jacquizz Rodgers appeared absent from any practice reps footage.)

According to Koetter, the biggest hurdle for Freeman to conquer -- like most rookies -- will be pass blocking, which the coordinator called "OK" thus far, even though he performed the task well in college.

"I think that's the biggest adjustment for a running back going from college to the NFL," Koetter said. "He had a great college career but teams try to test rookie running backs. They've got those big outside linebackers. There's a lot of protections, there's a lot of calls. There's a learning curve. He's on the right track."

With Jackson's injury history, Freeman will no doubt create late-round draft buzz in fantasy football leagues.

The latest Around The League Podcast debates which offense will be the NFL's most prolific and dives into the quarterback battles in Cleveland and Minnesota..

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