With two Pro Bowl safeties in Thomas DeCoud and William Moore, the Falcons are now looking to fill two open spots in backup safety. Shann Schillinger and Charles Mitchell filled the roles on paper at the start of 2012, and as with backup positions, the key to securing the spot is succeeding on special teams.
Schillinger, who was drafted in 2010 by the Falcons, missed last season with a foot injury but now his body is holding up well and that he's excited about being able to hit the field again.
"It's been great to get back out here," he said. "Being out makes you really take for granted what you have so I'm very appreciative. I'm having a good time. Still continuing to learn and get better each day, but it's been good so far."
Regarding the position battle he's currently in with other players, such as Mitchell, drafted rookies Zeke Motta and Kemal Ishmael, and college free agent Troy Sanders, Schillinger said that although the competition is expected every year, he realizes the strong group of players that he's going up against.
"Everyone is competing hard; that's what training camp is about," Schillinger said. "We've got a good group of guys so we're just trying to go out and get better each and every day and try to help this football team win games."
Despite the tough competition he's up against, Schillinger knows what will set him apart is his ability to succeed on special teams, something he says is "critically important."
"The third safety has to be a key guy in special teams and I have to be that guy," he said. "I have to be that guy and then when I'm called upon, I have to be ready. Make calls, God forbid someone goes down, step in, not miss a beat. And I think I can do it."