- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Atlanta Falcons training camp:
The big story Monday before the Falcons officially broke camp was rookie Jake Matthews' move from right tackle to left tackle following a season-ending knee injury to Sam Baker. Left guard Justin Blalock joked with Matthews about it being their first date together. The Falcons thought it would be a happy marriage with Matthews from the beginning, which is why they drafted him sixth overall. Matthews played left tackle last year at Texas A&M, so the transition back to the left side didn't seem to bother him one bit. It was interesting seeing him fight against veteran designated pass-rusher Osi Umenyiora as Umenyiora rushed off the right side. "We've got a ton of talent on this defense," Matthews said. "Every day, it's a challenge for me to go out and block. But it's been good for me. [Umenyiora's] one of the best that ever played. I'm excited to work with him and get better from him."
Defensive tackle Corey Peters returned to practice and participated in individual drills, meaning he's no longer on the physically unable to perform list. Peters tore his Achilles against San Francisco on Dec. 23 of last season. "Corey's way ahead of schedule in terms of his rehabilitation with his Achilles," coach Mike Smith said. "It's going to be fun to watch him get indoctrinated into what we're doing this season with coach (Bryan) Cox. We're going to take it slow. The next question may be whether we're going to have him ready for the first game. That's going to be something that will be determined (on) how he handles the next couple of weeks."
Javier Arenas was the primary nickelback during Monday's practice as the Falcons continue to weigh competition at the position. Smith said before Saturday's loss at Houston he wanted to figure out the best man for the job between Arenas, Robert McClain, and Josh Wilson. Arenas will get the first shot this Saturday against Tennessee. "I think we still have a lot of decisions to make in terms of who's going to be our nickel," Smith said. "We're going to rotate a little bit differently this week than what we did in the first two games. There's really been three guys who have been competing for it .... This is Arenas' chance to get his reps in there. And then we'll make a decision going into the fourth preseason game on who's going to be our starter at nickel."
There was a bit of an altercation between outside linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi and center Joe Hawley. After Massaquoi kept screaming at Hawley, Smith stepped in and warned how Massaquoi could get a 15-yard penalty for continuing to run his mouth. The Falcons have been penalized 19 times for 171 yards in two preseason games.
Extra points: Julio Jones looked rather smooth in catching a touchdown pass behind Desmond Trufant on a perfectly executed fade with Matt Ryan. ... Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who tore his Achilles this offseason, was in a walking boot and out supporting his teammates Monday. He once yelled from the sideline for the defenders to get proper depth on their drops. .... Offensive tackle Gabe Carimi walked around the practice field all day but remained sidelined coming off an ankle injury. ... Devin Hester had a drop over the middle on a bullet from Ryan. ... Terren Jones played with the second team at left tackle as Ryan Schraeder was at right tackle. ... Harry Douglas corralled a Hail Mary pass.