Dominique Franks found out Wednesday that he'd be the No. 1 punt returner for the Falcons on Thursday night against the Ravens. With Harry Douglas unavailable, Franks moved up one spot on the depth chart and made the most of it with a 45-yard return on his second opportunity.
"I just have to credit those 10 guys in front of me," Franks said. "They made it easy for me. They held them up at the line of scrimmage. I got a good chance to catch the ball, run downhill look for a hole and those guys made great blocks. The credit goes to all of them. They did all the hard work by blocking."
After a fair catch on his first punt, Franks was able to flip the field and get the Falcons right back into scoring position. An interception by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on the next play negated the return, but Franks caught head coach Mike Smith's eye with his work.
"I think seeing Dominique Franks, the punt return to put us into the redzone was a real nice return," Smith said.
Beyond his return, Franks had a nice night on defense, as well. With Chris Owens not playing, Franks was the next on the depth chart behind the trio of starters in Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel. The third-year corner ended the night with four tackles and played solid in his coverage opportunities.
He found himself out of position in third quarter in coverage, but all in all, Franks was pleased with what he put on film for the first preseason.
"I still left a couple of things out there," Franks said of the third quarter play. "I felt like I should have had that play. I think I played well for the first game and I'm going to try to get better next week."
With Franks' big return, the punt return competition may be back on after Smith said Douglas was the early clubhouse leader.
"It's always going to be a competition," Franks said. "I just want to go out there and do what I can to help this team to win. Whatever they tell me to do or ask me to do, that's what I'm going to do and I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."