After what seems like an eternity, the offseason is officially over and football season is finally here. Atlanta Falcons fans have been waiting for this since the team’s painful loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game earlier this year. Many Falcons fans shed a tear over that one, including yours truly.
With some familiar faces gone and new ones added in their place, Falcons fans are anxious to see how the team will fare this year. There are a lot of position battles going down this preseason. Not surprising, considering the amount of talent the Falcons have right now.
Take recent top draft picks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Only one of them is going to make it as starting cornerback alongside veteran Asante Samuel. Falcons head coach Mike Smith has a tough decision on his hands with these two. Alford and Trufant are bringing an immense amount of talent to Atlanta.
At this moment, Trufant has a leg up on Alford, but nothing is set is stone just yet. The bright side to Trufant nabbing the starter position is that there’s a use for Alford in other areas. He will more than likely be used often as the punt returner. We all know fans would much rather Alford do it than Dominique Franks. Sorry, Franks, but it’s the truth.
Anyway, keep an eye on these two rookies during preseason, and the regular season for that matter.
Another battle, though small but not insignificant, includes the fight for the Falcons’ backup quarterback spot. Definitely proving himself over the offseason and at training camp, backup Dominique Davis is getting the nonverbal the nod for the no. 2 spot behind starting quarterback Matt Ryan. Backups Seth Doege and Sean Renfree are competing for spot no. 3.
That last competition worth mentioning this preseason is the battle for the final few wide receiver spots. Superstar receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones are locked in as starters, Harry Douglas is a given for the slot, but what about the last two spots?
Going into training camp, receivers Drew Davis and Kevin Cone were the frontrunners, having been active for all of the 2012 season. That may still be the case, but Marcus Jackson, James Rodgers and a few others are all contenders with the same ambition.
That’s a lot of Dirty Bird showdowns to watch for this preseason. I can’t wait to see who makes the final 53-man roster. May the best men win.