June 6, 2012; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry (94) during organized team activities at the Falcons training facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
We'll make this somewhat of a weekly feature in the pre-season, as we wind our way toward the actual, honest-to-goodness regular season.
My goal is to take a closer look at some of the backups who perform well enough to merit notice and perhaps carve themselves out a role on this Falcons team. That's especially critical because the Falcons' starters are unquestionably talented, while further down on the depth chart there's plenty of flux and more than a few question marks.
If you can stand going over the jump again, let's take a closer look at the five I've chosen for the week.
He didn't look spectacular outside of the sack, but these Falcons have a peculiar obsession with James and his sack was a nice enough one to earn him another look. With the Falcons weak at MLB and James cross-training there, his chances of making the roster are improving by the second.
Massaquoi looked like a rookie out there, as you'd expect him to. But he also had two tackles which led to losses and showed excellent ability to push his way into the backfield, something that the Falcons have sorely lacked in recent years. He ought to be a part of the rotation fairly quickly.
It's hard to make your case more strongly than Rodgers did Thursday night. He reeled in a pass, showed he could field a kickoff and ran the ball very well. If the Falcons are serious about cutting Michael Turner's carries and serious about the screen game, Rodgers should benefit, and he's showing early signs that he's up to the task.
Even with Corey Peters hurt, I don't think Jerry's competing for a starting job. Nonetheless, he looked sharp in limited action and is probably pushing for snaps in what's likely to be a pretty fluid rotation in the middle of the team's defensive line.
Franks showed more than just a little in coverage last season, and his impressive 45 yard punt return had to catch the coaching staff's eye. On a team where the fourth and fifth cornerbacks are going to have to have extensive special teams value, Franks is standing out right now.
Who would be your five choices?