FLOWERY BRANCH, GA —With training camp winding down, one simple yet harsh fact faces many Atlanta Falcons players — cuts will be coming soon. With the roster currently sitting at 80 players, 25 must be cut by the beginning of the regular season.
Some players who face this stress more than others will be rookies. Many of the rookies reside in the linebacking and wide receiving corps, which carry nine and 11 respectively.
"I'm trying to become dependable," said linebacker Bear Woods, an undrafted rookie out of Troy. "I think I'm still trying to find my role, and that's what it's good to be, someone (the coaches) can depend on."
"I don't worry about what other guys are doing," rookie tight end Michael Palmer said. "I just come out here and worry about myself and control the things I can control."
That approach is one that many rookies, like wide receiver Ryan Wolfe have been taking as well. Wolfe said he is doing, "anything and everything" to crack into the wide receiver rotation.
However, whether it's a linebacker, tight end or wide receiver, Woods might have said it best when it comes to rookies and their preparation before and during camp.
"The mental stress on you is just as hard if not harder than the physical throughout camp," Woods said. "But it's an awesome experience and opportunity for me."
Competition At Camp:Coming into camp, it was clear that Matt Ryan was and is the Falcons' starting quarterback. It is not as clear, however, who will be in the backup role come opening day.
Currently, that job belongs to Chris Redman. Second-year quarterback John Parker Wilson, however, could vie for that position.
"We know what Chris can do," head coach Mike Smith said. "Chris has been our backup for the last two years.
"We want to make sure that we give JP Wilson every opportunity to advance his game."
Wilson, however, said he's not paying attention to any sort of perceived competition at the backup quarterback spot. Instead, he's taking more of a business-like approach.
"We're not looking at anything like that," Wilson said about the competition. "We're just out here trying to do our jobs, get better every day and do whatever we can to help the Falcons get ready for the season."