Over at AtlantaFalcons.com, Matthew Tabeek rounded up ten things the team’s editorial staff has learned after 10 days of training camp. The anecdotes here range from amusing (the offensive line’s fake tattoos are something The Falcoholic staff should emulate) to legitimately noteworthy (Jack Crawford’s health, which we’ll touch on later). But the one that jumped out to me was the praise for Marvin Hall.
Hall, you’ll recall, was signed as an undrafted free agent and managed to hang around all of last year, even getting a little run as a receiver and special teamer and finishing up the year with two receptions, 60 yards and a touchdown. He’s now competing for one of the last wide receivers spots on the roster and a returner job, and he has a legitimate shot at becoming the team’s kick and punt returner and fifth receiver. Not bad for a former undrafted free agent, no?
But it appears the 25-year-old may be in line for even more than that, if Matt Ryan’s very interesting comments about him hold true.
“Marvin is having a really good training camp,” Ryan said. “I think he’s having a great offsesason. He was really, really good for us in terms of training, attention to detail, his work during OTAs. He was excellent and he’s kind of continued that for the first week. I think he’s going to be a good reserve guy for us behind when you talk about those first three guys. Marvin is right behind that. He’s got great top ... speed.”
What’s really noteworthy here is that Ryan said behind when you talk about those first three guys. That could have been careless speech, but Ryan’s not often guilty of that, and it may indicate that Hall is working his way past Justin Hardy for the fourth receiver gig. Hall isn’t as sure-handed as Hardy and he doesn’t, by all accounts and observations, have the former’s blocking skills. He is faster and potentially more dynamic, however.
There are no guarantees, but these comments are a strong indicator that Hall’s an early favorite for a roster spot at the receiver position, and he may well be able to carve out a small but vital role in this team’s passing attack if his strong summer continues. No matter what order they show up on the depth chart in, a set of reserves as strong as Hardy, Hall and rookie Russell Gage would be very welcome.