Atlanta worked out three players yesterday, and you don’t have to dig deep into their histories to suspect that the Falcons are looking for some help on special teams.
Atlanta spent some time with wide receiver Cody Core, safety WIll Parks and linebacker Daren Bates, all veterans with extensive special teams experience.
Falcons worked out Daren Bates, Cody Core, Will Parks— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 12, 2021
This is Core’s second workout with the team, as he also reportedly worked out with Atlanta back on September 6. He was once a core (sorry) special teamer with the Giants, playing 62% of the special teams snaps with New York back in 2019 and piling up 8 tackles, and has 33 career receptions for 388 yards and a touchdown. The 27-year-old hasn’t been an in NFL regular season game since 2019, but Atlanta’s shaky receiver depth and shaky special teams performance on kickoff returns the past two weeks might lead them to bring Core in ahead of the Miami game. At the very least, he’s only a phone call away.
Parks spent a few seasons as a part-time starter with Denver and a little time with Philadelphia last year, drawing a ton of special teams snaps early in his career and managing 4 interceptions, 13 pass deflections and 2 sacks in 72 career games and 18 starts. He’s generally fared pretty well in coverage in his career and would be a sensible veteran depth option if Atlanta’s concerned Erik Harris is going to miss some time.
The workout for Bates is perhaps the clearest indication that Marquice Williams isn’t thrilled with the work his coverage teams have been doing. The 30-year-old has played in 118 NFL games for the Rams, Raiders and Titans, but the linebacker has never played more than 4% of the defensive snaps for a team in a given season. Bates has also never played less than 60% of a team’s special teams snaps and is a consistent, reliable tackler in that role.
Given that all three players have some special teams value and both Core and Parks play at current positions of need, don’t be at all surprised to see one of them join this football team ahead of the Miami game.