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Atlanta Falcons Friday Night Lights

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POSTED: August 2, 2014 3:00 p.m.
Larry Wynn/Barrow County News

First-round draft pick Jake Matthews absorbs the evening.

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The 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons are coming off of a 4-12 season last year as they open preparation for the new year with the annual Friday Night Lights event at a local high school. This year's venue was nearby Archer High School. 

The current team will have to be pared down significantly before the first regular season game, but the current configuration still features a lot of returning stars and some interesting new additions. 

Quarterback Matt Ryan should of course be back, and he will have a beefed up offensive line protecting him from the defense. In the receiving corps, both Roddy White and Julio Jones look to be back and in full health soon, along with running back Stephen Jackson.

Behind the two star receivers, a number of young counterparts hope to make their presence known in the new season. Bernard Reedy, an undrafted free agent out of Toledo, made a number of stellar plays at receiver during the night. He looks likely to compete for a roster spot and potential playing time as a slot receiver.

One of Atlanta's few high-profile signees during this offseason was that of famed Chicago Bears return man Devin Hester. Hester officialy occupies a receiver spot on the depth chart, but he is still likely to see quite a few returns for the Falcons.

Along with Hester, the Falcons brought in another decent name even casual football fans will recognize. Cornerback Javier Arenas, a college teammate of Julio Jones at Alabama, joined the Falcons in the offseason and should add some strength to the all-too-often porous backfield of the Atlanta defense.

The more than 90 players went through drills for the crowd Friday night and stuck around afterwards to sign autographs for a capacity crowd of 12,300. 

Atlanta started this new tradition in 2008 when they visited the Mill Creek High School stadium. The Falcons have since visited Peachtree Ridge, Brookwood, Gainesville and other prominent locations.  

 

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