5 things we learned from special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong

090802 Flowery Branch – Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong runs his players through kickoff drills on day 2 of training camp in Flowery Branch, Sunday, August 2, 2009. Only the special teams participated in the morning practice session. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong has to start over from scratch every season.

He doesn’t have the luxury of  Matt Ryan returning to play his 10th season in the league. Special teamers come and go and are replaced annually.

So, Armstrong is the authority on the rookie class, because he has to study the bottom of the roster and the newcomers with a keen football eye.

Here are the five things we learned from Armstrong on Tuesday during his discussion with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

1. Hill is impressive. He likes running back Brian Hill and will look at him as a kickoff returner.

2. Turbo switching lanes. He’s staying up late thinking about wide receiver Taylor Gabriel breaking loose on punt returns.

3. Roberts a commodity. There’s a large group of players he’s looking at to replace returner Eric Weems, but Andre Roberts, who was signed from the Lions in free agency, has the best resume.

4. Keep an eye Burton. Armstrong mentioned former Kansas State wide receiver Deante Burton, former South Carolina linebacker Darius English, former Miami linebacker Jermaine Grace and wide receiver Anthony Dable (who’s from France with no college experience) as players to watch.

5. Kicking game. Former Iowa kicker Mike Meyer is being watched closely. Falcons kicker Matt Bryant, who hasn’t shown any signs of slippage, turned 42 on Sunday.


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