Examining the Atlanta Falcons' roster:
Yes, the Falcons traded linebacker Akeem Dent to the Houston Texans in exchange for T.J. Yates, but Yates looks far from ready to assume the backup role after a dismal preseason showing against his former team. Renfree hasn't been spectacular but he knows the offense better.
RUNNING BACKS (5)
Jackson appears almost ready to return from a hamstring injury, so it doesn't look like anything will linger like last season.
Hester showed his value as a receiver against the Texans. Undrafted rookie Bernard Reedy should make it if Drew Davis starts the season on PUP coming off foot surgery.
TIGHT ENDS (2)
It's a very close battle but I'm giving Shuler the nod over Bear Pascoe at the moment just based on how Shuler continues to make plays in the passing game. Pascoe could be right back in front next week with his blocking.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
With Sam Baker expected to be lost for the season with a ruptured patella tendon, Matthews is expected to be moved over to left tackle from right tackle. Carimi, still recovering from an ankle injury, should have more value now as a right tackle candidate. And the addition of Jones to the mix is about having more depth at the tackle spot, although adding a veteran could be possible.
DEFENSIVE LINE (7)
Umenyiora looked good as the designated pass-rusher in the preseason loss to the Texans. Hageman is starting to figure things out and it showed in his play Saturday night.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)
Smith earned more reps this past week as fellow rookie Tyler Starr sort of fell out of the picture. Starr has to have a strong last two preseason games.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)
Shembo continues to progress and should get an opportunity to seriously challenge starter Bartu sooner than later.
Just changing it up a little with adding Arenas because he has had some moments. Allen has to show himself more.
Ishmael, who had an interception against the Texans, might put some pressure on Lowery for the starting role. Southward displayed his speed on special teams the last time out. Maybe Sean Baker remains in the mix for safety depth.
Nothing has changed here except Bryant and Bosher are coming off getting a kick and punt blocked, respectively.