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'That's what I'm working for now': Logan Woodside relishing Falcons opportunity with fresh eyes

Woodside led Falcons to preseason win over Dolphins, vying for spot on 53-man roster.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- There were multiple Snapchat notifications waiting on Logan Woodside's phone after the Atlanta Falcons' first preseason game in Florida. His wife, Desirae, had sent videos of their two sons — 1-year-old Kase and 4-year-old Kannen — screaming at the TV in excitement and celebrating their father's success back home in Georgia.

Moments like those serve as a reminder: Logan Woodside has always believed in himself. Now others believe in him.

Because of that, Woodside's reasons for playing have changed, seemingly for the better.

"I had a lot of people say that I couldn't do it, and I just wanted to prove them wrong," Woodside said. "Now, as I've gotten older, I love playing football and I love being around the guys. I've also got two kids now that I want them to see me play football. That's what I'm working for now."

Woodside was technically listed as the Falcons' third-string quarterback on their unofficial depth chart, and he played all four quarters in Atlanta's preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins last Friday.

The Falcons won, 19-3.

Woodside completed 14 of his 23 passes for 146 yards. He was sacked four times for a loss of 21 yards. His longest completion was a 27-yarder to wide receiver Xavier Malone.

"I've been fortunate I've been with Logan in a couple different stages of his career," Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. "I thought he played really well, poised. You could just tell by his body language in the pocket. I thought we had given him ample time for the most part, I thought his decision-making was pretty good, and I thought he was pretty damn accurate."

That four-quarter performance was just the second of Woodside's career.

Woodside was drafted with a seventh-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018 out of Toledo. Since then, he has played in 13 of a possible 15 preseason games so far. (Remember: All preseason games in 2020 were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) And, out of those, he has only ever played all four quarters twice, including last Friday.

In 2019, Woodside solely led the Tennessee Titans to a 19-15 exhibition win over the Chicago Bears. He connected 17 of his 29 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked twice for 12 yards.

That was his second year in the NFL, though. Woodside is now embarking on his sixth season, and kicking it off with his coaches' trust to fully control the offense solidified an extra sense of trust and confidence Woodside has felt this training camp.

"Especially because we had some success," Woodside said. "Just playing with my instincts, that's something (offensive coordinator Dave) Ragone talked about. It's got me to this point, so I just want to keep doing it."

Field time at any point this preseason wasn't guaranteed either.

The Falcons already have their starting quarterback in Desmond Ridder, and he's expected to play this Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX 5) against the Cincinnati Bengals with the rest of the first-teamers. Then, there's backup Taylor Heinicke, who's also likely to get a shot before the regular season begins Sept. 10 with the Carolina Panthers.

Woodside knows all this.

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins during Preseason Week 1.

"I applaud that dude a lot, especially for how hard he worked in order to get to that game and just the fight that he had (in it)," said Falcons running back Bijan Robinson, who has been rooming with all three quarterbacks this training camp. "He would get right back up if he got hit. I think that just his mindset and his mentality about the game are what makes him special."

All Woodside wants is to make the 53-man roster, and last Friday's performance went down as a positive in Smith's book. Because the evaluation period isn't over. About two weeks remain until the Aug. 29 deadline.

Before coming to Atlanta, Woodside spent a good chunk of his career either as a free agent or on a practice squad. He may have joined the league in 2018, but his official debut didn't come until 2020 when he appeared in six games with Tennessee. He completed just one pass for 7 yards out of three attempts that season. In 2021, he played in five games and didn't throw a live ball once. He never did again for that team.

The Falcons' signed Woodside off the Titans' practice squad on Dec. 10, 2022. He took just four snaps in season finale – a 30-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – and didn't record any stats whatsoever. But that began a new chapter for the now 28-year-old.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here," Woodside said. "I'm just excited to keep working and see how this thing shakes out."

For himself. For his teammates. And for his family.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Logan Woodside #11 and family during AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Ga. on Wednesday, August 2, 2023. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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