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Rookies Expected to Buy Into Special Teams Value

In order to be a special teams player for the Falcons, one must possess a certain demeanor that involves a level of selfless grit and determination.

Special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and head coach Dan Quinn have built their system around a philosophy that gets rookies acclimated from the get-go.

It's not unusual for a player who comes from college and has never played special teams before to come in and be a little resistant of the idea.

Having been an NFL coach for 23 years, Armstrong has seen this often and wanted to keep it from happening with this year's rookie class, so he got creative in finding ways to reach these kids and show them what special teams is all about.

"I got pictures of Justin Hardy, Tevin Coleman, Terron Ward, all in their superstar roles in college," Armstrong said of how he showed rookies the value in playing special teams. "I'm showing them Oregon State, East Carolina, Indiana and then I turned around and showed them covering kicks. The rookies saw Coleman taking one to the house against Ohio State, then they also saw Coleman make a smart play versus San Francisco where he goes out of bounds, can't touch the ball and then Hardy comes and does a flip and taps the ball back."

Hardy is a perfect example of what buying into a role on special teams can do for you in regards to value on the 53-man roster.

"It's really cool for a guy like Hardy who ended up being that third guy [at receiver] and he was a good special teams player," Armstrong mentioned.

Special teams will very quickly become part of the Rookie Club's daily routine, and for college free agents especially, it could go a long way in making the team come August.

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