Locker Room Roundup: Sept. 1

Here are the top news and notes items from the Falcons' open locker room session with the media Monday:

  • Some jersey numbers have been updated after the final round of cuts. RB Devonta Freeman now wears No. 24. DE Tyler Starr now wears No. 54. WR Eric Weems went back to No. 14, which he wore during his previous seasons in Atlanta. New LB Nate Stupar will wear No. 52. UPDATE, Sept 2: Freeman will not be changing his number. He will remain No. 33.
  • Speaking of Stupar, he was thrilled to join the Falcons organization when he was informed that the team claimed him on waivers Sunday. He has a long road ahead of him, but the second-year linebacker is willing to put in the work: "Any time you go to a new team, you have to get into the playbook and just continue to learn, because these guys have been doing it for months on end. It's my first day — I'm seeing everything and it looks like a different language, but there are a lot of similarities and I'll be able to learn it real quick."
  • When cuts are made over the weekend, a ringing phone is a bad thing. When 4 p.m. comes on Saturday and the phone hasn't gone off, that signifies that you made it through. For bubble players, that kind of wait can create a lot of tension: "The wait was brutal because you're sitting there not knowing whether to check your phone because you don't want to be on it," Starr said. "You just have that feeling of looking at it, that worst feeling ever when you check your phone and all of a sudden, numbers start popping up randomly. It felt good just to have that pressure off your back."
  • Rookies got settled into their new lockers Monday. During camp, rookie lockers are located in the Falcons' indoor facility, detached from the main building. Moving into the main locker room was a significant step for the rookies who now truly feel a part of the team: "I came up here this morning and I was fired up that I was finally in here," said Jake Matthews, whose new locker is next to Justin Blalock's. "That's pretty cool, to finally be with the group and the O-line in here. I'm excited about that. It is the point when the season's starting, so we've got a lot of work to do."
  • New players are getting a quick indoctrination into what it means to be part of the Falcons-Saints rivalry, and there's been no shortage of conversation about what Week 1 is about this offseason. "Just going anywhere, the mall or just driving around town, the first thing you hear is, 'Beat the Saints,' " rookie safety Dezmen Southward said. "A lot of people aren't even worried about the rest of the season, they just want to beat the Saints, so it's something that you learn really fast. It's something that obviously means a lot." Freeman, a Florida State product, likened it to the storied Seminoles-Gators rivalry, while former Kansas City lineman Jon Asamoah put this rivalry above Chiefs-Raiders or Chiefs-Broncos.
  • Both Southward (head) and DT Corey Peters (Achilles) said they'd be ready to go for practice this week.
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