Armstrong Gets Good Look at Rookies During OTAs, Camp

Armstrong Gets Good Look at Rookies During OTAs, Camp

Jay Adams

Published July 12, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong said he values the offseason programs as it really gives him a chance to get a good look at the new crop of players that could earn a spot on his units — a luxury that wasn’t afforded to him last year due to the lockout — as our Five Questions series with the Falcons assistant coaches rolls on.

Jay Adams: How do you feel things are shaping up for you on the special teams side of things as we head into training camp?

Keith Armstrong: Good. It’s just that time of year when you’re trying to build a foundation, work on fundamentals, reteach some things for the older guys and the new guys need to, obviously, learn our verbiage, learn our technique and learn our scheme. I think we’ve got that accomplished.

JA: How much different is this offseason compared to last year as far as what you do? I know you need to look at all of the rookies and see which ones might be able to earn a spot on special teams.

KA: Well, the biggest thing is you at least get to break everything down and teach it in small parts before you put it all together, so you can go part-whole-and then back to part, whereas in the past, last year, obviously, we had to go right into the play itself. There was no time to teach technique, so you were doing that on the run and correcting it as you were putting in schemes, so obviously a big advantage for us fundamentally, technique-wise and training young guys, because they haven’t covered kicks in a year or two out of college, some of them, and getting them back on track, so it’s obviously big for us to have OTAs and minicamp.

JA: How do you feel about having to replace Eric Weems, and it seems like you’ve got a couple of guys on the roster right now who can take over the return duties?

KA: Yeah, somebody’s gotta be the returner, so that’s the approach I have to take. Whoever it is will step up. We’ve obviously got all the names and all that type of stuff, but we have to get the pads on and let it play itself out.

JA: You get a reliable guy in Matt Bryant coming back. Does having him take away a little worry for you at all?

KA: No, I think what happens is, every kick’s different. You have to approach every year different. We start all over again and you can’t assume, so we’re going back to ground zero and build the foundation and work our way back up. Hopefully, we’ll have the same success we’ve had in the past. We’re not going to assume that we’ve got an automatic kicker. We’ve got to work it, we’ve got to build it — he knows that. That’s the way he is. There are no guarantees in this league. You get what you earn, so he’s working his tail off and doing a hell of a job.

JA: What do you expect out of the progression of Matt Bosher in Year 2?

KA: You’d like to see him start off with the same consistency that he finished the season with. I think he will grow. He’s become more knowledgable about his profession. He’s done a nice job here in the offseason with his work, so I think he’s preparing himself, because he wants to avoid a slow start. He would have liked to avoid a slow start last year, but he suffered the most from the lack of OTAs and minicamp because we knew there were some things that we needed to address with him, but by the rules, we couldn’t get to him, we couldn’t address his issues, so we had to do it during the season. Obviously, when you touch the ball, your flaws become more glaring. Being a punter or a young quarterback, you’re going to face those issues early.

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