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3 Falcons Who Earned Their Keep in the Preseason

LaRoy Reynolds: A powerful linebacker who can get downfield quickly, Reynolds has carved out an important role on special teams. He made a number of impressive plays on the kick/punt unit during the preseason and was a captain for the exhibition finale against Jacksonville.

Last week, head coach Dan Quinn said the Falcons "really want to make special teams a priority and give it its due and respect," and keeping Reynolds on the 53-man roster shows that commitment is genuine.

Brian Poole: A versatile defensive back at the University of Florida, Poole made a strong first impression in Atlanta with his fierce, hard-hitting brand of football. He made some opportune tackles in the last four weeks — two of which were stops — and could be a factor at nickel back right away.

Quinn recently compared Poole's rise to Ricardo Allen's, and it's easy to see why: Both are highly motivated athletes who have proved a lot of people wrong by seizing big opportunities.

Joshua Perkins: From the start of training camp, Perkins has stood out in the passing game as a tight end with surefire hands and good length. He continued to make plays over the middle throughout the summer, catching five passes for 65 yards in four games. He became a factor on special teams, as well, notching a pair of tackles in the preseason.

Tight ends are important in Kyle Shanahan's system, and although Jacob Tamme and Austin Hooper will be the primary targets at that position, Perkins has the raw ability needed to work his way into the offense.

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