Atlanta Falcons: Biggest Winners and Losers in Falcons Camp, Preseason so Far

Drew Tull@@drewtullContributor IIAugust 15, 2012

Atlanta Falcons: Biggest Winners and Losers in Falcons Camp, Preseason so Far

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    The Atlanta Falcons currently have 90 players on the roster and have to get 53 players by September 2nd.

    The close of Falcons training camp is coming up on Sunday in Flowery Branch, and the team is less than two weeks away from the first cut-down date to 80 players on August 28.

    The clock is ticking on players to standout and earn a spot, while others may already be locking up a spot.

    Lets take a look and the winners and losers so far.

Winner: CB Dominique Franks

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    The Falcons have Harry Douglas listed as the punt returner, but this battle seems far from over. 

    Franks saw action on Thursday against the Ravens as the returner and excelled in this role.

    He took a punt 45 yards down to the Baltimore 15-yard line while Douglas sat out the game with an injury. Douglas is needed to fill an important third-recevier role and doesn't need to risk injury.

    Franks also recorded six tackles on defense on Thursday. 

    He was a quality replacement for an injured Brent Grimes in 2011 and should be entrenched as the fourth-cornerback for the Falcons.


Loser: OT Sam Baker

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    Baker had all sorts of issues on Thursday night against the pass rush of Paul Kruger and rookie Courtney Upshaw.

    Baker has struggled to get healthy and stay healthy throughout his career, and he could be squarely on the roster bubble.

    He should be pushed by Will Svitek as the preseason progresses and it would not be too surprising to see him get cut.

Winner: DE Jonathan Massaquoi

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    Massaquoi was one of only a few bright spots on the second and third-string defenses.  

    He had four tackles, two tackles for loss, one quarterback hit and two special teams tackles.

    That was an impressive debut for the fifth-round rookie defensive end, who is currently behind numerous veterans at the position.  

    If Massaquoi can build on that performance, the Falcons may have found a gem in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Loser: DT Corey Peters

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    After having a very solid 2011 season, Peters has missed much of training camp with a foot injury.

    This has allowed second-year player Peria Jerry to step up in his absence.

    Once Peters returns, he will still have to completely re-integrate himself into the team by learning a new playbook under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

    While he may be slightly behind he should return to a similar role as last year.

Winner: WRs Drew Davis and Kevin Cone

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    The battle for the No. 5 receiver role is very much alive in Falcons camp.  

    At this point, two players look to be the front-runners in Kevin Cone and Drew Davis.

    Cone had the better stats in the first preseason game with two catches for 25 yards to Davis' one catch for three yards.

    Right now, Davis seems to be leading, according to Daniel Cox, but this battle could last all the way until September.

Loser: S Suaesi Tuimaunei

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    Tuimaunei entered the first preseason game battling a host of Falcons for a roster spot.

    Tuimaunei was a member of the practice squad last season as a rookie and is back with another season under his belt.

    Unfortunately, he looked terrible on Thursday, as he got beat multiple times against the Ravens.

    The second-year player will have to step up to be on the roster when the season starts in September.

Biggest Winner: The Trio of Jones, White and Ryan

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    Julio Jones:

    Jones lived up to the hype once again by catching six passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, all in the first quarte,r on Thursday against the Ravens.

    Jones appears to be able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, on the field.

    Roddy White:

    White added three receptions for 46 yards, all in the first quarter as well.

    He is still a reliable target for Matt Ryan, even if Jones is the highlight-reel now.

    The combo of White and Jones is a lethal combination at receiver that will force teams to pick their poison in coverage.

    Matt Ryan:

    Ryan had one very bad decision but was great overall, going 9-for-13 for 155 yards and one touchdown.  

    He had decent blocking, and was not sacked during his time on the field, which is a very positive sign for the Falcons offense as a whole.

    This trio should put up a lot of points in 2012, as the Falcons challenge for another NFC South title. 

Biggest Loser: FB Bradie Ewing

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    Ewing entered the first preseason game as the backup to Mike Cox at fullback but many thought he would eventually win the role.

    Unfortunately, Bradie Ewing has torn his ACL and was put on injured reserve, which means he will be missing the entire 2012 season.

    The injury happened on a special teams play, and it was a really sad sight to see for the 2012 fifth-round draft pick.