FLOWERY BRANCH – As expected, the Falcons have already started tinkering with their 53-man roster.
After going 4-12 last season, the Falcons have the sixth position on the waiver wire and they opened a spot on the roster by releasing linebacker Tim Dobbins today, according to his agent David Cantor.
The Falcons claimed linebacker Nate Stupar, a 6-foot-2, 240-pounder. He was drafted by the Raiders in the seventh-round (230th overall) of the 2012 draft. He's spent time with the Raiders, Eagles, 49ers and Jacksonville.
He has played mostly on special teams in 12 NFL games.
Stupar, who played at Penn State, is the nephew of former NFL quarterback Jeff Hostetler.
Also, the Falcons have started rounding up their 10-member practice squad.
The Falcons signed cornerback Ricardo Allen, safety Sean Baker, guard Harland Gunn, tackle Terren Jones, wide receiver Bernard Reedy, defensive tackle Travian Robertson, linebacker Jacques Smith, and running back Jerome Smith to the practice squad.
Robertson, a seventh-round pick in 2012, is beneficiary of the new practice squad rules.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to expand NFL Practice Squads for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Absent an extension of the agreement, the current rules will be reinstated beginning with the 2016 season.
Under the agreement, 2014 and 2015 practice squads will increase from the current maximum of eight players to 10 players.
In addition, the criteria for practice squad eligibility has been expanded in two respects.
First, a player must have a minimum of six games – up from the current three games – on a practice squad in order for that season to count as one of the player’s three permissible seasons of practice squad service.
Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two practice squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.
FINAL EXHIBITION GAME: Falcons 24, Jaguars 14