One of the many new faces among the Falcons this offseason is free safety Dwight Lowery, a free-agent signing from April that was completed quietly. Now that OTAs have begun, Lowery hasn't been a quiet player. Taking an opportunity to earn a starting role and running with it, Lowery has been turning heads at these offseason practices, starting with the man he's playing beside, William Moore.
"Last week he probably had like four interceptions so far," Moore said. "We're not shocked, but we are very impressed with how he came in and started out both days."
With 41 starts under his belt, Lowery's no stranger to NFL football. Injuries have slowed the progression his career appeared to be on after becoming a fourth-round pick of the Jets in 2008. He had seven interceptions in three years with the Jets before moving on to Jacksonville where injuries began to take their toll.
Lowery's back healthy this season and said the Falcons were the only team to show him interest during the offseason, but he's happy to be with a winning organization again. Atlanta could be the stop to help Lowery get his career back on track and his veteran experience could help him win a job at safety in a competition that includes third-round pick Dezmen Southward.
"There's no substitution for experience," Lowery said. "There's only so much you can learn from being on the practice field. Having the lights on and having to execute in that type of environment is a whole different animal so the more veterans that you have that can come and lead the team, the better off you'll be."
Head coach Mike Smith said on Wednesday Lowery's versatility with a past as a cornerback in addition to safety means he's a player that can stay on the field in the frequently-used sub package that features more defensive backs.
"Dwight is more of a free safety than a strong safety," Smith said. "He's played some nickelback, has played some corner. It gives us a lot of flexibility and again when you have matchups that we have to concern ourselves with when we're in our five and six DB packages, it gives us a lot of flexibility."
Lowery's two final seasons in New York were spent under head coach Rex Ryan, playing on one of the better defenses in the league, especially against the pass. Lowery's got the range to cover as a free safety and he could serve to be the stabilizing force needed at the position. Lowery wouldn't speak about last season since he wasn't here, but what he sees this year is a brand of defensive football that we often hear associated with Ryan defense.
"Attacking, offensive mentality," Lowery said about Atlanta's defense. "We don't want to sit back and let the offensive dictate what's going to happen in the course of the game. We want to be the dictators, we want to attack, we want to have an impact on the game."