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Five Things from XFINITY Camp: Final Day

Posted Aug 18, 2014

XFINITY Atlanta Falcons Training Camp broke after a practice Monday morning during which many questions about the offensive line began to be answered

1. Matthews at LT an 'Easy Switch': Falcons head coach Mike Smith took the weekend to decide, but it turned out to be a no-brainer. Jake Matthews has moved to left tackle. The rookie will start in place of Sam Baker, who will miss the 2014 season with a patellar tendon injury. "As soon as we had confirmation that Sam wasn't going to play any more this season, it was an easy switch," Smith said Monday. "Jake is our No. 1 pick — sixth pick in the draft. He had left tackle written all over him."

2. Change at RT, Too: At right tackle, Lamar Holmes saw a lot of work in Saturday's loss to the Texans as well as during Monday's practice session. Whether he'll lock down that spot, however, remains to be seen. Smith said Holmes and Ryan Schraeder will work at the position for now, but Gabe Carimi will get a shot when he returns from an ankle injury.

3. Corey Peters Returns: Defensive tackle Corey Peters returned to the practice field Monday as he officially came off the camp PUP list. Peters will be slowly indoctrinated back into the mix along the defensive line and Smith said how he fares during the next few weeks will determine if he'll be ready to play Week 1 against New Orleans.

4. Nickel Battle Still Close: Smith has had three good cornerbacks to look at when it comes to the nickel position in Josh Wilson, Javier Arenas and Robert McClain. Wilson has started at the spot in the preseason and has seen a lot of snaps there, playing the most defensive snaps (69 percent) than any Falcon in Week 2. This week, however, Arenas will get his chance to shine: "This is Arenas' chance to get his reps in there and then we'll make a decision going into the fourth preseason game on who's going to be our starter at nickel," Smith said.

5. Penalties Are a Big Focus: Smith is concerned about the number of penalties called on the Falcons. There were 15 called against his team in Saturday's loss, albeit not all of them were accepted, but with the NFL calling tougher games from a penalty standpoint, Smith is adamant about making sure his team knows what's acceptable and what's not: "We've got to make sure that we understand how the game's going to be called from the officiating side. They're going through changes, we're going through changes — there are a lot of emphasis points that the league has basically mandated, and we're going to adjust to them," Smith said.


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