As the 2015 Falcons roster continues to take shape, versatility, passion, grit and toughness seem to characterize the very players head coach Dan Quinn has on his roster, including offensive lineman Mike Person. The 6-foot-4, 299-pound guard joined the Falcons in March, his fifth NFL club. Quinn had an up-close look at Person, who spent time in 2013 with the Seattle Seahawks, later signed by the St. Louis Rams in 2014, showcasing the ability to transition between teams and positions.
"Last year, during the preseason, in a couple games, I played center, guard and tackle," Person said. "So, I definitely see myself as cross training and to make it in the NFL any more, you have to be able to bounce around and be versatile."
Enter Person's new opportunity in Atlanta, where he's very aware of the outside zone scheme the Falcons will run this season. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan highlighted his offensive linemen during his introductory press conference, admitting that his guys up front are "going to run a lot more than they ever have before" and yet "still be as physical as anybody", challenging opposing defenses sideline-to-sideline and not just between the tackles.
Person says such an offensive scheme, similar to what he played in with the Seahawks, highlights what he's able to do best on the football field.
The Falcons' 2016 roster is constantly evolving and we've amassed all the players in one gallery that will be updated throughout the year
"Just my ability to move and run (and) to be able to get guys moving, while still being physical, while I'm running," Person said. "A lot of people think the outside zone scheme is just kind of a soft way of blocking people but no, you're attacking people, you're being physical, while tiring them out at the same time by making them run."
Quinn has stressed building a competitive culture with his team, getting each of his players to ideally exceed his own potential. Person is ready to embrace all challenges in competing with his Falcons teammates for the job of protecting quarterback Matt Ryan and paving pathways for the team's running backs, fueled with proper perspective.
"You have to be willing to grind it out," Person said. "Nothing is ever going to be pretty when you're playing on the offensive line. Stuff is going to go wrong, that's a given, and it's your ability to adapt, when things get bad, and make the most out of it (that helps the team)."