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Falcons training camp 2016 is two days away. Here’s two ways training camp matters

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For rookies fighting for roster spots and veterans fighting for starting gigs, training camp matters a great deal.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons-Minicamp Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

If you can believe it, we’re almost to the end of July, and training camp starts on Thursday. I don’t need to hype you up for it, I’m sure, but we’re still going to count down the days.

We’re also, at least for today, going to talk about why training camp actually matters. In many ways it’s just a glorified series of practices, but the timing (before the preseason and season) and what’s at stake (roster spots and starting jobs) makes it more important than that. Here are two reasons to pay attention.

  1. It creates genuine separation in roster battles. Preseason games are important as the Falcons go to set their final roster and determine who will be starting, but seeing your players at practice on a daily basis handling everything you throw at them gives the coaching staff a solid feel for how they’ll fare with extended playing time. When someone struggles mightily in camp, it creates opportunities for others, and we saw Mike Person run with just such an opportunity en route to the center job in 2016.
  2. It gives young players their first (and sometimes only) chance to prove they belong. In preseason, a player who is third or even fourth string can expect a handful of snaps most of the time to make his case, and those snaps are coming against fellow backups, so it’s hard to guess how much weight the Falcons actually put in those snaps. If you’re a rookie like, say, David Glidden who would appear to have no chance in hell of actually making the roster, forging a rapport with Matt Ryan and impressing before the season is just about your only shot.