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Atlanta Falcons' projected roster
August, 11, 2014
By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com
Examining the Atlanta Falcons' roster:
Ryan was his old self in the preseason opener against Miami, completing all of his throws in one series of work. Sure helps when you have better protection in front of you. T.J. Yates might be in a battle for the backup role with Sean Renfree.
RUNNING BACKS (5)
Patrick DiMarco (fullback)
Freeman looked as good as advertised in his debut, especially catching the ball out of the backfield. But Smith even looked even better as he exploded for two long gains -- including a 76-yard touchdown -- that were called back. He definitely needs to be the Falcons' offensive game plan during the regular season.
Jones didn't play in the first exhibition but should get plenty of live action at least in the third preseason contest against Tennessee. White seems to have plenty still left in the tank. Hester can be a weapon but has to continue to learn the offense. Bernard Reedy will definitely have a spot if Davis (foot) begins the regular season on PUP.
TIGHT ENDS (2)
An agent representing another player on the team said the buzz around the higher ups is about how talented and effective Toilolo will be for the offense this season. We'll see if that comes to fruition. He was impressive in the first preseason game.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
Holmes has started to improve in camp so this week, he gets the nod over Harland Gunn, who gave up a few sacks in a joint practice with Tennessee. Holmes protected well against Miami. Although Carimi suffered an ankle injury in that practice against the Titans, his versatility in playing three different spots on the line, plus his overall toughness, has him in good standing.
DEFENSIVE LINE (7)
No one really stood out in the first exhibition although there was a noticeable difference in stopping the run, with Soliai and Jackson up front as anchors. Umenyiora only played six snaps, but his veteran leadership is invaluable so he should stick. Plus the Falcons can preserve him now to be fresh for the regular season as a designated pass-rusher.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)
Massaquoi continues to progress, particularly against the run, while the rookie Smith definitely brings a lot of fight with him. Stansly Maponga was the most consistent pass-rusher on opening night, so he could surpass Smith at some point in this process.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)
The group lost yet another player when rookie Marquis Spruill's season ended with a torn ACL in practice. The Falcons already lost veteran leader Sean Weatherspoon for the season with an Achilles injury. Angerer is coming off a concussion while Dobbins is recovering from an ankle injury, so the team might need to dip into the free-agent market again for depth.
Coach Mike Smith commented solid the defensive backs were in terms of their tackling against the Dolphins. Alford did have one slip-up in a play that resulted in a Dolphins' touchdown, but that's going to happen in preseason. Javier Arenas is playing well now and might push Wilson out of there at some point.
Lowery returned from a mild concussion sooner than expected and is one step away from being ready to play in actual game. Ishmael would move back into a backup role after having a solid showing as a starter in the first exhibition. Baker has had some moments and is solid when it comes to communication.
Matt Bryant (kicker)
Matt Bosher (punter)
Josh Harris (long snapper)
Bosher is one of the best in the league, and Bryant is consistent. They just need to keep it going.
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