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Dan Quinn praises Andre Roberts, does not praise special teams turnovers

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It was a good night for a veteran, and a rougher night for some rookies.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Roberts is the clubhouse leader for the returner gig because he’s experienced, good at his job, and came to Atlanta on a solid contract for a veteran who otherwise would be no better than the fifth receiver. He also helped himself out in the first preseason game.

Roberts’ 40 yard punt return in the first quarter was legitimately impressive even against a so-so Miami special teams unit, and it showcased the kind of explosiveness and ability in the return game that many fans have been clamoring for over the last couple of years. It would take an injury or some truly stellar performances from other contenders to beat Roberts out.

It helped that Marvin Hall, who was averaging 22 yards on kick returns and adding a 26 yard punt return, unfortunately also fumbled a return. That kind of stuff doesn’t fly on a team with one of the best special teams coordinators in the business, and Hall will be lucky to get another chance back there this preseason.

It’s very possible the Falcons turn over one or two guys at the bottom of the roster after this game, with the fourth string defensive backs who struggled so mightily looking like the early clubhouse leaders for that “honor.” But it’s worth remembering that those at the bottom of the roster need to make a strong case on special teams in order to make it, and the kinds of big mistakes we saw tonight don’t make Dan Quinn and Keith Armstrong happy. With the way Hall and Davis played, though, maybe they’ll wind up being the exceptions.

Meanwhile, we’ll go ahead and congratulate Roberts on winning the job. He more or less has.