ATLANTA - From his vantage point in Chicago, Devin Hester saw the Atlanta Falcons as a consistent playoff contender.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith has put a strong emphasis since the start of training camp on improving the team's run defense.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Corey Peters battled doubts about his future in the NFL after he tore his Achilles tendon late last season.
FLOWERY BRANCH - When the Atlanta Falcons drafted Jake Matthews, they figured he would take over at left tackle someday.
HOUSTON - J.J. Watt feels as if he gets asked about playing with Jadeveon Clowney every day.
HOUSTON - For Brian Cushing, there's no substitute to being on the field.
FLOWERY BRANCH - The mandate came from the top of the Atlanta Falcons' chain of command when the offseason began.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Antone Smith, best known for his special teams play in his first five seasons with the Falcons, finally has a chance to show he deserves playing time at running back.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Jake Matthews' first live NFL action gives Atlanta coach Mike Smith reason to think the No. 6 overall draft pick has potential to become an elite player.
ATLANTA - Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Miami's Ryan Tannehill showed how starting quarterbacks should handle preseason openers.
ATLANTA - The Atlanta Falcons hope to find clarity in the competition to determine quarterback Matt Ryan's backup in Friday night's preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins.
FLOWERY BRANCH - A visit from the Tennessee Titans on Monday didn't change the tone of the Atlanta Falcons' fight-filled training camp.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Steven Jackson's latest hamstring injury is giving Jacquizz Rodgers, Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith a chance to fill the void at running back for the Atlanta Falcons.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Matt Ryan is expanding his leadership role to include teaching young players and other newcomers in his seventh training camp with the Falcons.
FLOWERY BRANCH - The Atlanta Falcons need new leadership on defense, and coach Mike Smith says second-year cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford fit the job description perfectly.
ATLANTA - Now that Vic Beasley has signed a four-year rookie contract and finished his first mini-camp, the rookie defensive end is eager for the next phase of his development with the Atlanta Falcons.
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