ATLANTA -- There's no set-in-stone blueprint for a player that's trying to make an NFL squad during training camp. It's even harder to predict what an undrafted rookie needs to do to impress his coaching staff.
Atlanta Falcons safety Brian Poole might have figured out the game plan, though.
During the Dan Quinn Coaches Show Monday on 92-9 the Game, Quinn rehashed a story from way back in August. Poole was an undrafted rookie trying to make a name for himself. According to Quinn, that's exactly what he did.
Quinn praised Poole for having the technique and discipline it took to match up against receivers of different size, speed and ability. While that talent flashed to Quinn, what sold the Falcons' head coach on Poole had everything to do with heart.
"I knew Poole was going to be amongst us when in training camp I saw him counting in line, not for who he didn't want to go against, but because he wanted to go against Julio [Jones]," Quinn said about Poole on his show Monday. "This was a rookie trying to match up in line – I saw him 'there's the third guy, I want to go third.'
"That told me right then and there the competitor that he is. As opposed to backing off, he wanted to go challenge it. I'm not saying he went up there and stoned him [Julio Jones]. However, it spoke a lot to the confidence that he had in himself to say 'I want to try it against the best.'
Not only did Poole make the team, he's played in all 10 games, starting four. He's been such a vital part of Atlanta's defensive plans, he's played 72 percent (524) of the Falcons' 723 defensive snaps.
Poole's sixth on the team in tackles (35), tied for fifth with two tackles for loss, is second with six passes defensed and leads the team with two fumble recoveries.
To put up those stats as a rookie says something about Poole's quick transition to the NFL. To do it all as an undrafted player means Poole's made the most out of his victories on the practice field.
The fact that he's seeking out the best competition to face off against means moxie has paid off tremendously for the first-year star from Florida too.
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