Running back Tevin Coleman emerged as a legitimate dual-threat running back in his second season in the NFL.
As the Atlanta Falcons were marching toward the Super Bowl, Coleman hauled in 31 receptions for 421 yards – a gaudy 13.6 average with three touchdowns. The Falcons had one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history, and coordinator Kyle Shanahan was hailed as one of the game's top offensive minds.
Coleman reunited this offseason with Shanahan, who begins his third season as 49ers head coach. And Coleman notices a difference in how Shanahan runs his offense.
“Now, he can do anything he wants,” Coleman said. “He can put guys at multiple positions. He can put us in multiple positions to run different routes. It’s pretty good.
“(He’s) definitely more creative than he was in Atlanta, just with everything (he's) doing with the backs and tight ends and receivers.”
The 49ers have a speedy group of running backs around whom Shanahan can diagram his offense. Coleman joins a backfield that consists of Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. Coleman does not expect there to be any boundaries for the possibilities of combinations that will get on the field at any time – or what formations and what positions they might align.
“Kyle has advanced that and has us running more routes that receivers would do,” Coleman said.
Coleman, who signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the 49ers in March, has been the lead back for the 49ers during organized team activities. Coleman is coming off a season in which he gained a career-best 800 yards rushing on 4.8 yards per attempt.
McKinnon is working back slowly after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Breida (partially torn pectoral) and Mostert (fractured forearm) are expected to join Coleman and McKinnon at the start of training camp in late-July.