Atlanta Falcons: Competition at wide receiver heating up

072912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie (far right) and head coach Mike Smith look on as wide receiver Kevin Cone, from Georgia Tech, hits the pads during practice in Flowery Branch on Sunday, July 29, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

072912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie (far right) and head coach Mike Smith look on as wide receiver Kevin Cone, from Georgia Tech, hits the pads during practice in Flowery Branch on Sunday, July 29, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH – Behind wide receivers Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas, there is a lot of competition.

Last season Eric Weems was the fourth wide receiver and Kerry Meier was the fifth. Meier will try to slide up into the fourth slot, leaving one and potentially two roster spots open.

“Kerry has done a really good job,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “Last year, coming off a knee injury, he came back in and did a good job. He played in some spot roles for us. But I think this year his confidence is back in his leg. I’ve been really impressed with him through the spring and through the start of training camp.”

Wide receivers Kevin Cone and Drew Davis, who were on the practice squad last season, have been playing well early in training camp, too. Cone was added to the roster as the sixth wide receiver late last season.

Davis caught a nice pass from Chris Redman on a slant route Thursday when the second-team offense was trying to move down the field into field goal position.

Cone effortlessly soared to snag a high screen pass from Dominique Davis. He made a nice move to get up field.

Cone and Davis also drew some praise from Ryan.

“It’s always fun to watch them,” Ryan said. “They improve so much day to day. They’ve got such a great approach to it. These guys are tireless workers. They are out here and catching balls all day. They are running and doing all kinds of stuff on special teams. I think both of those guys have a real opportunity to make our team and contribute in special teams and in that fifth receiver role.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith was asked about Davis.

“Drew Davis is developing very well,” Smith said. “He was on the practice squad last year. He’s got height, speed, catches the ball extremely well. He’s a guy that’s very young in his football development. He’s got a basketball background as well.

“He’s a good young prospect for us. The tough thing for us, down the line, is with our wide receivers, as you know, we’ve got four guys that have got experience. We’ve got Kevin Cone and Drew competing with these young guys that just joined us in April.”

The rest of the wide receivers group includes Michael Calvin, Kenny Stafford, Marcus Jackson, James Rodgers and Tim Toone.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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36 comments Add your comment

Gym

July 30th, 2012
9:03 pm

SeenThisB4

July 30th, 2012
9:04 pm

Rick

July 30th, 2012
9:12 pm

Hmmmmmm I like this pushing!

Jesse

July 30th, 2012
9:23 pm

How many catches did the 4th and 5th WR have last season? And is this really that important?

The Grinch

July 30th, 2012
9:42 pm

The fourth and fifth WR’s weren’t used last year (or even the third, for that matter) because the OC was a moron. So let’s hope it becomes important.

to real

July 30th, 2012
9:54 pm

First of all we have been a power run football team dat eat up T.O.P ground and pound so when dat 3rd or 4th quater cum around dat other team is to tired to hit run first play action ova tha top dat system didnt run much 4 or 5 wide out sets!!!

SeenThisB4

July 30th, 2012
10:14 pm

I’m kidding guys, i really love the Falcons!!!

Ueeediot

July 30th, 2012
10:47 pm

Best news in this article is that Redman has completed his one pass for the season.
#53rdman

SCFalcon

July 30th, 2012
10:53 pm

Brian F.

July 30th, 2012
11:02 pm

It’s not who is the best receiver, it’s who can be a contributor on special teams. That is the story.

Mikefalcon63

July 30th, 2012
11:03 pm

Kevin Cone is one of those guys who really is a mystery b/c of where he played college ball (Shorter and Tech). But you can’t ignore size and speed which should help on special teams as well as his development. You he can block b/c that is about all Paul Johnson has receivers do. It will be fun to see who wins the spot. I know they team likes Meier but it almost seems like he had his shot and blew it when his knee went out. He is a smart guy though and seems to run near perfect routes, which is one of the easiest ways to overcome a lack of speed (I think Meier ran a 4.6 coming out.) Drew Davis should be interesting to watch as well, though I am not sure he has the upside that Cone has. Lastly, don’t discount Rodgers. The guy can play and will give everyone a run for their money despite only being 3 ft tall.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 30th, 2012
11:04 pm

Jesse – 4. Weems caught 11 passes for 90 yards. 5. Meier 0 for 0. Probably more important for depth reasons and if there is a returner in the group.

DirtyBirdinCali

July 30th, 2012
11:40 pm

Any feedback on Calvin, DLed?

DirtyBirdinCali

July 30th, 2012
11:41 pm

…also, does Dominique Davis have a real shot at #3 QB spot?

jaz

July 31st, 2012
12:14 am

I was wondering if they picked Toone for return duties? Liked your article about Ryan in the top ten, as it was really well written, great quotes, great read.. thanks to CV too.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 31st, 2012
12:50 am

DirtyBirdinCali – Will get something soon on Calvin from Coach Terry. He’s fast. I do know that. Will try to work in over the next few days.

Ihatethenbaanditsgreed

July 31st, 2012
12:52 am

More important for special teams

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 31st, 2012
12:52 am

jaz — Thanks for your kind words. C. Viv has put away his hockey stick, baseball glove and basketball sneakers. He’s ready for some FOOTBALL, TOO!!! Yes, Toone was working with the punt returners the other day. (C.Viv got the Braves on Wed. though!)

dom

July 31st, 2012
4:28 am

I think if he stays healthy Meier is a lock for No.4. He sounds like a real good possession type receiver,more in your Wes Welker mould, who can help move the chains. Nice big target, great hands and with his background as a former QB has the ability to work in some trick plays too. I like Cone at No.5 for his speed and potential. D-Led, I was finally able to watch one of your videos. Nice work, and you looked surprisingly cool in the suit and bowtie given the heat.

CDFALCONS

July 31st, 2012
8:31 am

D-Led what is your understanding on the competition between QB Dominique Davis and John Parker for the 3rd spot? I believe Dominique is stronger then Parker and will win the 3rd spot for QB.

Esquire

July 31st, 2012
8:42 am

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 30th, 2012
11:04 pm
Jesse – 4. Weems caught 11 passes for 90 yards. 5. Meier 0 for 0. Probably more important for depth reasons and if there is a returner in the group.
_____________________________________________________

I only remember Ryan throwing 1 pass attempt to Meier last season and it went way over his head. Would like to see Meier get some touches.

Esquire

July 31st, 2012
8:51 am

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 30th, 2012
11:15 pm
Esquire — Cody Pearcy. He got cut.
________________________________________________

I sure thought this fast white boy was going to have a shot. I wonder if he was just too light or maybe a character situation surfaced, all I know is the kid was lightning fast.

Bullseye

July 31st, 2012
9:17 am

Hey look! SeenthisB4is here!
Good article D.Led.

D man

July 31st, 2012
9:49 am

Our wide receiver group is one of the best in the NFL. This should be another great year…

Wilson Pickett

July 31st, 2012
11:09 am

Receiver isn’t the problem……..

1-Defense has to get much better with more three and outs and prevent so many long drives and points.
2-QB has to get the ball down the field more and no longer depend on 75 yard drives 3 and 4 yards per play. Just too much pressure to make long drives without having big plays.

JoFo

July 31st, 2012
11:27 am

dLed- I simply want to tell you that you do a great job besides your sports journalism and reporting job. You serve an important role for us true Falcon fans as a liaison between the players, coaches, management, owner and us! We appreciate you! Here’s a toast to a GREAT year for the Falcons and the fans!

Falcons Fly

July 31st, 2012
12:22 pm

The Stews were talking about using Harry Douglas like the Patriots use Wes Welker. I think that’s brilliant. I hope the OC studies that.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 31st, 2012
1:32 pm

Falcons Fly – I don’t think Harry is getting 150 targets like Welker when you have Tony, Roddy and Julio.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 31st, 2012
1:33 pm

JoFo – Thanks for your kind words. I’ll share with my colleagues, like Chris Vivlamore who help out a great deal on the beat.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 31st, 2012
1:44 pm

Esquire — Why can’t you call him by his name? He was a little slight of frame. Cody Pearcy.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 31st, 2012
1:45 pm

CDFALCONS – Knox asked coach about Drew Davis yesterday and he started talking about how great Dominique Davis was playing. Called him a “pleasant surprise.”

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 31st, 2012
1:49 pm

dom – I think you are right on Meier. He’s looking good. Cone and Drew Davis appear to be a fierce battle for the No. 5 spot. Cone is so big and fast and Drew moves so fluidly. I think it’s safe to say that both will be playing in the NFL, here or somewhere else.

I usually just read but....

July 31st, 2012
2:16 pm

Kerry Meier was delayed by that knee. Look for him over the middle this year. A lot.

Runner-

July 31st, 2012
6:06 pm

Kerry Meier was not delayed by the knee, he was delayed by Mularkey!!

Matt Ryan has shown that he favors a few WRs and doesn’t give too much of a shot to newcomers during the season, hopefully things will change because I think that would be the biggest improvement over last season than all, spreading the catches among the different, extremely talented WRs we have

Oscar Mancia

July 31st, 2012
6:47 pm

I attended the open practice sessions from Thursday to Sunday and I have to say I am excited to see this offense play. I knew that Roddy, Julio and Harry were gonna look great and was surprised to see how well Kevin Cone has done. I know he hasn’t done anything in the NFL but I’m a fan of his already. Can’t wait for the season to start? Rise Up!!!

J-Lo

August 1st, 2012
7:18 pm

My two cents: I’d like to see Rodgers at least make the practice squad so that the Rodgers Brothers tradition of playing on the same team continues. I’d be really disappointed if that didn’t happen.