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Falcons 2012 Roster Finalized; Schillinger Out for Year

The Atlanta Falcons have announced both their 53-man and practice squad rosters. Here’s a look at the 2012 opening day squad.

Quarterbacks (3) 1-Matt Ryan 2-Dominique Davis 3- Luke McCown

Davis’ impressive preseason allowed the Falcons to free up money in the form of releasing Chris Redman, and so the undrafted free agent assumes a top backup role. McCown, a veteran, started and won the Jacksonville Jaguars’ opener last season, and has a history with Dirk Koetter.

Running backs (5)1- Michael Turner 1-Lousaka Polite (FB) 2- Jason Snelling 3- Jacquizz Rodgers 4- Antone Smith

Polite beats out veteran Mike Cox for the lone fullback job, and opening created by Bradie Ewing’s ACL injury. Rodgers provides a speed element to a backfield dominated by physical contact runners, while Smith figures to play on special teams.

Tight Ends (3) 1-Tony Gonzalez 2- Michael Palmer 3-Tommy Gallarda

This may be the end for real for the future HOFer Gonzalez, who returns for a 16th season. Palmer is a solid number two but may not be the heir apparent to Gonzalez. Gallarda will play in goal line sets.

Receivers (5) 1-Roddy White 2-Kevin Cone 1-Julio Jones 2-Harry Douglas 3-Tim Toone

No real surprises here. Toone cracks the roster as the fifth option, after back-to-back strong showings in weeks three and four of the preseason. He takes what would have been a healthy Kerry Meier’s spot.

Offensive linemen (10) Starters: LT-Sam Baker RT-Tyson Clabo C-Todd McClure LG- Justin Blalock RG-Garrett Reynolds.
Reserves: T Lamar Holmes, G Mike Johnson, G Phillipkeith Manley, C/G Joe Hawley, C/G Peter Konz.

This group isn’t a surprise so much as it is an unknown. Reynolds is the biggest question mark among the anticipated starters, and Konz may very well be a starter before season’s end. The Falcons have some of the best center depth in the NFC.

Defensive linemen (10) Starters: DE Ray Edwards DT Jonathan Babineaux DT Peria Jerry DE John Abraham.
Reserves: DE Lawrence Sidbury DE Kroy Biermann DT Vance Walker DE Jonathan Massaquoi DE Cliff Matthews DT Travian Robertson

Jerry’s phenomenal performance in the preseason should result in his being given the temporary starting job on the interior, though Walker and Biermann are both more than capable of splitting reps. Matthews’ solid play during his brief window in week three of the preseason is likely the reason he makes the active squad.

Linebackers (5) OLB1-Sean Weatherspoon OLB2-Stephen Nicholas MLB1- Akeem Dent OLB3-Mike Peterson OLB4 Robert James

Spencer Adkins was a surprise cut, as the Falcons opt to open up the year with only five linebackers on their roster. Dent has enormous shoes to fill as he not only replaces Curtis Lofton, but also occupies a roster spot without a true backup. Peterson, a 14 year vet, will see a different role this year because of the lack of depth on the bench.

Defensive Backs (9) CB1-Dunta Robinson CB2-Brent Grimes FS1-Thomas DeCoud SS1-William Moore CB3-Asante Samuel CB4-Robert McClain CB5-Chris Owens FS2-Chris Hope SS2-Charles Mitchell

A very skilled, experienced group of defenders with diverse skill sets. Robinson and Grimes reunite to form a solid corner tandem, and should benefit from Samuel’s arrival. Moore and Mitchell form a younger pair of strong safeties, but have looked strong in camp. Owens missed the entire preseason with a hamstring problem, but if healthy can bring a delayed blitz presence from the defensive backfield. Chris Hope makes the team as kind of the under the radar guy, but is a reliable veteran.

Specialists (3) K Matt Bryant P Matt Bosher LS Josh Harris

Bryant and Bosher were never at serious risk of unemployment, and return for another year together. Harris surprises by beating out veteran (and former Pro Bowl) long snapper Joe Zelenka, and will be the only Falcon rookie to start on opening day.

The Falcons also announced some of the members of the 2012 practice squad. They include;
-WR Drew Davis TE Chase Coffman S Mark LeGree OL Bryce Harris LB Pat Schiller WR Marcus Jackson CB Peyton Thompson DT Micanor Regis

The team also announced safety Shann Schillinger has been placed on season-ending injured reserve, while wide receiver Kerry Meier was waived with an injury.

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