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New Falcons special teams ace Justin Bethel speaks about joining team

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We get insight from one of our newest Falcons.

Arizona Cardinals v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Falcons added a great piece to their special teams group and a reliable veteran backup to the secondary when they added former Cardinals CB Justin Bethel.

Bethel spoke to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution about what the team pitched him on when he was visiting with them.

“When I came in and I was talking to Keith and (special teams assistant coach) Mayur (Chaudhari), they kind of told me that if we are bringing you in here, we want you to take that leadership role from what you’ve done,” Bethel said. “Go out there and show guys how to do what you’ve been doing over the years.

“I plan on doing that. I plan on being able to come in and play how I have been, making key and major plays on special teams and changing outcomes of the game.”

That’s going to be a huge boost to what was clearly a problem spot for the team in 2017, and having Bethel’s play and prowess on the field, and off of it in helping teach his teammates, should improve the unit, at least somewhat.

He also says he’s enjoyed the atmosphere of the team so far, and, of course, likes being closer to home.

Bethel, who was born in Sumter, S.C. and raised in Columbia, S.C., played in college for the Presbyterian Blue Hose. He’s looking forward to training camp.

“It’s close and my family can come and watch me,” Bethel said. “But the OTAs have been really cool. It’s a really nice vibe. We’ve got music playing and everybody is trying to stay loose. They make sure that everybody is taken care of, making sure that guys are getting enough rest. I’m really enjoying it.”

And, hey, while we’re at it, what does he think of these new special teams changes, which affect how you can block and removed a lot of the running head starts an opposing team can make? He’d know as well as anybody.

“I think it’s an interesting rule,” Bethel said. “I think they are trying to stop concussions and all that stuff. The league and the NFLPA did what they had to do to get the rules across. We’ve been practicing under the new guidelines and we are going to do the best that we can with it.”

So, we’ll see how Bethel impacts the Falcons this fall, and how this could be one of the sneakily great moves the team made this offseason.