Against Jaguars, 5 reserves to watch in job hunt

JACKSONVILLE -- For most reserves competing for a spot on the Falcons’ 53-man roster, the second exhibition game against Jacksonville is their last significant chance to impress the coaches.

After holding a joint practice on Wednesday, the Falcons (0-1) and the Jaguars (0-1) will play at 8 p.m. Friday at EverBank Field.

The starters will play about a quarter; that will leave the reserves the rest of the game to try and impress the coaching staff.

“Traditionally, we increase the number of snaps or series,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We went three series with our defense [against Miami], and we’ll probably go a little bit longer in this ballgame.”

Newly signed tight end Reggie Kelly, cornerback Dunta Robinson (hamstring injury) and center Todd McClure (resting) will not play. Defensive end Ray Edwards (knee) and linebacker Robert James (groin) will be game-time decisions.

“I’m feeling good coming back,” said Edwards, whose practice time was increased this week. “But all of the decisions are for the coaches. They will let me know when they want me to go out there and go full bore.”

Next week, the starters will play longer at Pittsburgh in the third exhibition game, which is the regular-season tune-up game. However, the starters likely won’t play much in the final exhibition game against Baltimore on Sept. 1 at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons have 90 players on the roster and must cut down to 75 by Aug. 30; the final roster must be set by Sept. 3.

“We hope that everybody on our roster gets an opportunity to go out there and play in the ballgame Friday night so that we can get an evaluation on them,” Smith said.

Five key reserves to watch against the Jaguars:

Bear Woods, linebacker: He was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in April last year and made it to the final cut in September; he was signed the next day to the practice squad.

The instinctive linebacker from Troy had a strong fourth exhibition game last season and led the team in tackles last week against the Miami Dolphins with five. He also had a tackle for a loss and a tackle on specials teams.

Brandyn Harvey, wide receiver: He was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in April last year. He was a practice standout, but dropped some passes in the final exhibition game and was waived. The Falcons didn't forget about Harvey and signed him to the practice squad in late December. He's a rangy receiver at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds.

Harvey, who played at Villanova, is having another strong camp. He was targeted four times last week against Miami and made two catches for 35 yards.

Darrin Walls, cornerback: The Notre Dame product was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent last month. Smith was impressed with Walls' physical play on special teams against Miami. He had three special teams tackles and one assist.

He played well in coverage against the Jacksonville receivers in practice, but angered secondary coach Tim Lewis after drawing needless a pass interference call when he appeared to intentionally bump the back of a receiver.

Drew Davis, wide receiver: The Oregon player was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent last month. The team is deep at wide receiver, but he keeps turning heads. He runs smooth routes and rarely drops a pass.

Timed in the 4.5s in the 40-yard dash, he has shown speed to get open deep.

Lucas Cox, fullback: The Georgia Tech product was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent last month. He plays an important position in the offense. Pro Bowler Ovie Mughelli has praised Cox for asking the right questions and quickly learning his playbook.

Cox has shown the ability to take on linebackers and win. With Jason Snelling on board, the Falcons likely won’t keep two fullbacks. Lucas appears to be a practice squad candidate.

the back of a receiver.