For the first time all season, the Atlanta Falcons began a Wednesday practice led by the team's official captains for the remainder of the 2014 campaign. Prior to Week 10, Falcons head coach Mike Smith decided to change things up and name captains before the end of the season. Smith made the decision to give the players an opportunity to embrace the leadership roles full-time, in the locker and on the field.
As for the voting, offensive players voted for their two captains, selecting wide receiver Roddy White and quarterback Matt Ryan to lead the group.
"It's a big honor and a big responsibility," Ryan said. "I feel like I owe it to the guys to always give my best, day in and day out. I'm going to try and lead the best way I can, the same way I have up until this point."
Each of the players in Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's group voted for its captains, giving the honors to defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and linebacker Paul Worrilow.
"It's a privilege," Worrilow said. "Knowing my peers voted for me to have the spot, that's something that means a lot and I'm glad to be a part of it, especially at linebacker, being the guy in charge, communicating with everybody."
The Falcons special teams captains were determined by every player on the roster, not just specialists, making the honor even more appreciated by the group's captains, wide receiver Eric Weems and running back Antone Smith.
"It means a lot, especially as we're halfway through the season," Smith said. "There are still plays to be made on special teams, offense and defense, so naming captains this early is a big deal. It shows a lot of respect."