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After two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and four with the Atlanta Falcons, veteran running back Tevin Coleman believes his new opportunity playing for the New York Jets will help prove that he’s still the same versatile and effective running back prior to injuries and loaded backfields that decreased his production over the years.
In an interview with the AP, Coleman was asked about his status after missing nearly the entirety of the 2020-2021 season due to a sprained knee. “Oh, yeah, I feel like I’ve got a lot left — a lot left in my tank. I’m a fast guy, I’m a strong guy, I’m big. So I’ve definitely got a lot in my tank to prove myself.”
In the middle of a Jets backfield desperate for improved production, the 28-year-old Coleman stands out as a clear favorite to take on a three-down role for the Jets should they eschew introducing a committee of running backs, including names like La’Mical Perine and Ty Johnson.
Coleman’s best season came in 2018 when the Falcons backup RB took on a full-time role after starter Devonta Freeman’s season-ending injury in Week 6 of the regular season. Coleman amassed 800 rushing yards and over 1,000 of total scrimmage yards, showcasing his skill both on the ground and through the air.
In the process of a rebuild, the New York Jets hope that a meshing of older, more prepared skill players like Coleman will help a promising young class of rookie contracts get the team back on its feet after not having made the playoffs since 2010.
Working in Coleman’s favor is a reunion with former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, now head coach of the Jets, who worked alongside the running back during the past two seasons in the Bay Area.
At the bottom of an increasingly difficult division, the Jets’ chances of winning the AFC East over trending teams such as Miami or Buffalo — with the inclusion of the New England Patriots — will be a process in the making for a least a couple more seasons should former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson end the carousel of QBs that have run through the Jets locker room.
With the help of a fully healthy Tevin Coleman and developing offensive line talent in Alijah Vera-Tucker and Mekhi Becton, the Jets offense may be one to watch going forward under the new regime.