Devonta Freeman out for Falcons vs. Cardinals; Still in Concussion Protocol

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 23, 2017

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman will miss the team's third preseason game on Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals due to a concussion.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn announced Wednesday that Freeman would be held out of action this weekend.

"He's doing well," Quinn said, via ESPN's Vaughn McClure. "He's going to visit with the independent part of the protocol come up here soon. He won't play in this ball game. He won't practice today. He's back to full-speed running. But it's soon that he'll be back participating full speed in practice. But you won't see him suited up for this weekend.''

The Falcons placed Freeman in concussion protocol after he showed concussion-like symptoms during practice on Aug. 13. 

Freeman has been an integral part of the Falcons offense since being drafted in 2014. The 25-year-old came into his own in 2015 with 1,056 rushing yards, 578 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns. 

Last season marked the first time Freeman appeared in all 16 games for the Falcons. He racked up 1,079 rushing yards, 462 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns to help Atlanta reach the Super Bowl. 

After Freeman signed a five-year extension with the Falcons in August, Pro Football Focus noted he was the eighth-highest-graded running back during the 2016 season with an 83.3 overall mark. 

The good news for Atlanta is the regular season doesn't begin for two more weeks. The offense remains loaded with skill-position talent to play at a high level without Freeman. Tevin Coleman has been a strong backup to Freeman with 520 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last season. 

Beyond the running backs, quarterback Matt Ryan is the reigning NFL MVP and wide receiver Julio Jones has had at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the past three seasons. 

Freeman gives the Falcons a more complete offense, but they are still good enough to remain atop the NFC South without him if he is forced to miss an extended period of time due to his concussion.