By Jimmie Kaylor @jimmiekaylor on August 4, 2014
The Atlanta Falcons are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2013 season and make a return trip to the playoffs in 2014. To get there they will need to improve across the board on both sides of the ball. The competition has been and will continue to be heavy for roster spots during training camp and preseason games. Here is a look at five players who are on the roster bubble for the 2014 season.
Vaughan is likely the odd man out from the running back group. Fourth-round draft pick Devonta Freeman and veterans Jacquizz Rodgers and Steven Jackson are all locks to make the roster. Antone Smith’s special teams prowess will land him a roster spot as well. Vaughan will have to excel on special teams and with his limited rushing opportunities this preseason to have a shot at making the 53-man roster in 2014.
Johnson is competing with Peter Konz to be the Falcons' top backup for the interior offensive line positions. He has outplayed Konz thus far and has been receiving reps as the second-team center in training camp. Johnson’s versatility could win him the spot over Konz.
The Falcons are expected to only keep two quarterbacks on the active roster this year, and the offseason trade for T.J. Yates makes him the top candidate to back up Matt Ryan. Renfree is likely to be on the outside looking in.
Matthews played sparingly in 2013 and recorded six quarterback hurries in 172 snaps. He seems to be better suited for a 4-3 defensive alignment and faces an uphill battle to win a roster spot in 2014.
Joe Hawley is entrenched as the starter, and Konz has struggled mightily thus far as an NFL offensive lineman. If it weren’t for his status as a 2012 second-round draft pick, Konz would probably have already been released. He is likely battling Mike Johnson for an interior backup role.
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