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Matt Hansen


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Daniel Cox

The Falcons have plenty of players on their roster that have made it by going the college free agent route. Linebacker Matt Hansen is trying to become the next player to do so. A practice squad addition late last season, he's back at his natural position and turning heads through the OTAs and minicamp. 

If you want to go out, go out with a bang.

Thursday's minicamp practice wrapped up the Falcons' offseason activities and linebacker Matt Hansen made the final big play of the day. Dropping into coverage during a redzone drill, Hansen came down with an interception after dropping one during the previous day's practice.

"I've got to give credit to the DBs coach, Coach (Tim) Lewis, because we'd been over that route before," Hansen said after practice. "I recognized the route and jumped it. He threw it right to me and I luckily caught it."

The interception wrapped up a very successful offseason for the young linebacker. Hansen was with the Falcons during last training camp, trying to make the cut as a safety after being signed as a college free agent. He was part of the final cuts, but returned to the team as a practice squad member late in the season, that time as a linebacker, his natural position.

The linebacker position suits him and his comfort level in the defense at the position is evident as you watch him practice. Invited to May's rookie minicamp, he put up another solid performance, grabbing another interception during a practice and being all over the field at all practices.

Thursday's interception was a great way to wrap up an exciting offseason for Hansen.

"The last day, you want to make an impression," he said. "You're going to be gone for a month and you've got to keep your name in these coaches minds, that felt good."

During rookie minicamp Hansen said his primary goal this season was to earn a roster spot and he knew performing well on special teams was a part of that puzzle. With an injury to Stephen Nicholas keeping the outside linebacker off the field for OTAs, Hansen has benefited from the extra work at linebacker, as have Spencer Adkins and Robert James. Hansen is learning both strong and weakside linebacker positions in an effort to be as versatile as he can be for the coaching staff. The work he's put in during the offseason has left him feeling positive heading into the month-long break before training camp.

"I definitely feel like I fit in somewhere," he said. "I'm not exactly sure where yet. Like I said after rookie minicamp, I feel a lot more comfortable at linebacker and a lot more instinctive. I think I'm going to have a good shot to make a roster spot if I keep playing well. I'm looking forward to it."

For players with something to prove, the break between OTAs and training camp can be challenging. They want to continue to learn and work with the coaches to show them what they're capable of. Hansen said he'll return to his workouts in Rhode Island and possibly Florida with a focus on speed. He'll also work with the study sheets he's been given to keep the plays fresh in his mind. The emphasis in Mike Nolan's defense is speed and much of that is accomplished by knowing the playbook like the back of your hand. Those are his two focuses during the break.

"That's why I think this year was so important to me because you can't play fast if you don't know what you're doing," he said. "If you don't know what you're doing, you're just running around. That's what I think is most important for me. I know what I'm doing and that's how you make plays. Other than that, I'm going to try to keep the weight on and get a little faster. Speed in this game, especially with everybody passing so much, you need to be fast."

The one thing he said he won't do is take much time away from his notes. Too long of a break and he thinks he'll be starting from scratch once camp begins and he's come too far for that.

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Guest Fibonacci
Fibonacci's not going to like this.

You know I pray I am dead won't about this guy.

But I really saw nothing but him intercept a horrible thrown ball and run around like a chicken with his head cut off.

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You know I pray I am dead won't about this guy.

But I really saw nothing but him intercept a horrible thrown ball and run around like a chicken with his head cut off.

After I read your posts about minicamp, I was really shocked to read the article about this guy. I was like ayy i thought this guy sucked

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You know I pray I am dead won't about this guy.

But I really saw nothing but him intercept a horrible thrown ball and run around like a chicken with his head cut off.

It seems writers are giving Hansen the leg up, but he doesn't pass the eye test to you?

Everybody loves a trier you know. Real camp will separate the wheat from the chaff.

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Guest Fibonacci

I got to do some things. But when I get home I will write my full review on what I saw and the pictures I took.....because there is one picture he is posing for the camera when he should be making the tackle....it is not as bad as it sounds.....but come on, why look dead at the camera???

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Hansen. I never understood why he was listed at SS unless they had him participating and practicing at SS for reasons of coverage training...which has happened. He is every bit a LB and I wouldn't mind seeing more from him.

I'd actually say that he could be very interesting to watch in the preseason.

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I got to do some things. But when I get home I will write my full review on what I saw and the pictures I took.....because there is one picture he is posing for the camera when he should be making the tackle....it is not as bad as it sounds.....but come on, why look dead at the camera???

I feel like if Weatherspoon did that in practice, people would find it amusing.

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Guest Fibonacci

ok so Daniel cox says this guy was all over the field

- 100% right......just now he makes it sound. this kid was all over the field, and not always where he needed to be.

--- I know matt can do the fake draw look like he is throwing to white, but actually throws to Douglas across the middle....well the guy would fall for it ever single time.

here is a picture I semi laugh at.

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/G4fHq2I0uBBwJAq_ZhcYndMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

(sorry I could not embed the phot on here. due to this message board.)

- anyhow this is a picture of Davis cutting from the right side across the middle.not sure what hansen was doing, but he just ran right past Davis here.....like he did not even see that Davis had the ball.

--- I mentioned it first, and ever one around me starting chirping in that they wondered why he did that.

ok next thing.....he played with against who? not Ryan, not Redmann, rarely JPW, but mostly Davis.

- now we already know how I mentioned Davis foot work, so it should have not been bad to pick him off.

--- which is something he did....also Davis was picked off a good 3 times in camp all week. (not bad, but just saying)

this was like 4th string going up against 4th string. this was rookies against rookies....or guys who have not had time on the field that much in there careers.

https://picasaweb.google.com/105376748300402650377/June192012#5755907871277410098

here is another one. like the picture states, rodgers was about to break this guys ankles. but hansen could not cut back fast enough to get to rdgers coming up the middle.

which Rodgers did move past hansen, but Rodgers could not move past schillinger.

also the D of this 4th string stunk.....if you look in the first picture Schillinger ran up, instead of playing back like he was to do.

it was just a bad look.

I am glad Mitchell and other rookies were bumped up to a better know how.

(Mitchell is someone who I am keeping my eye on....I really thought he was going to be special teams.....but the kidd was starting to yell out stuff like Moore does. plus mitchell was starting to learn his position. I really want to see him with pads on and contact) (you could tell it was hard for rookies on D, I will say that)

anyhow if Hansen is there at training camp, you can bet I will have my camera out on him to show y'all if he really does stink or if he really does suck.

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