The Falcons have a decision to make at the punter position. Incumbent starter Cam Nizialek is coming off a subpar game against the Bucs, after which the Falcons added veteran Dustin Colquitt to the practice squad.
Practice squad flexibility, especially the ability to add veterans to it, has created a week's competition to see who will punt on Sunday against the New York Giants.
"With Dustin and Cam, we need to see continued growth in that position," Williams said in a Thursday press conference. "We need to see confidence. The biggest thing, though, is consistency with their technique. That's what everything boils down to, being able to handle their technique at any given time. We have all the confidence in the guys we have here, that they can get the job done."
Nizialek has two disappointing punts in Tampa, where he cited technical issues and an attempt to be too fine with his directional efforts. He believes he has had a good week of practice and clearly isn't fazed by the competition from an established pro like Colquitt.
"I really embrace it," Nizialek said. "This [job] is really what I wanted. I've wanted this job for three or four years. It's something that I don't take for granted. I know [Younghoe] Koo has said this in the past, but, even if you're the only guy on the roster, you're competing against everyone on the street."
Smith has been adamant that his staff not "jerk the wheel" regarding young players who have a rough game. He didn't do that with left guard Jalen Mayfield after he struggled in the season opener. While the Falcons brought in veteran competition onto the practice squad, Mayfield kept his starting spot.
Nizialek will try to fight off a similar challenge as well, with Colquitt trying to get back into the league after a long career has hit a stumbling block.
"You've got guys out there who are really talented," Nizialek said. "As long as I do my best, I think that will be good enough."
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