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Falcons protect WR Chris Rowland, QB Kurt Benkert from practice squad purloining for 3rd straight week

Punter Cam Nizialek and linebacker Edmond Robinson are also protected this week.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons can protect four practice squad players from the covetous glances of other NFL teams every week, and thus far there’s been a familiar pattern to who they’re choosing to shield.

For the third straight week, Kurt Benkert and Chris Rowland are being protected. Joining them this week is punter Cam Nizialek for the second straight time, as well as veteran linebacker Edmond Robinson for the first time.

The team is likely to protect Benkert and Rowland all year long, assuming neither gets a call up to the active roster. Benkert seems like the logical choice to take over from Matt Schaub, should the wily veteran retire and not decide to play until 50, while Rowland seems like the obvious choice to be the team’s kick and punt returner down the line.

Nizialek may get that treatment as well. He beat out at least two other players for the emergency specialist gig, and unless the team’s priorities shift dramatically, he’ll likely be a fixture because the team placed a lot of emphasis on getting a reserve punter in place.

Robinson is a new addition, but it’s likely he’s being protected in case Foye Oluokun misses any significant time and the team needs a fairly experienced reserve to be available. He was an interesting signing in the offseason, given that he fared well in the AAFL and had two sacks in the brief XFL season before joining Atlanta, and that he has the requisite physicality to be a quality player at linebacker. Don’t be stunned if he joins the active roster at some point, too.

There’s your protection report for the week. Stay tuned for next week, when three of these guys probably get protected again.