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Cliff Matthews Adds Weight, Embraces Change

The Atlanta Falcons' defensive end is putting on weight and training at a new position.


Cliff Matthews had to know he that he was going to be clinging desperately to a roster spot in 2013.

The Falcons drafted Stansly Maponga and Malliciah Goodman. They signed Osi Umenyiora. They still have Kroy Biermann and Jonathan Massaquoi, too, which meant things were getting crowded even before you consider that Jonathan Babineaux is going to play some end this year.

If you're Matthews, then, you're doing whatever the coaching staff asks and trying to prove you have value. His special teams prowess will go a long way for a team that loves that, but Matthews has shown up with ten added pounds for a reason. He's getting some looks at defensive tackle.

What gets lost in all the crazy "Matthews is a bust" arguments that occasionally flare up here is that he's actually a huge overachiever, one of the few seventh round picks who carved out a role for a contending team. If he's able to bring his run-stopping skills to defensive tackle and defensive end, I'd up his chances of staying on the team to above 90%. Mike Nolan prizes that versatility, and Matthews has shown that he's a useful player.