FLOWERY BRANCH -- Falcons wide receiver Roddy White has made it to the past two Pro Bowls. He was voted onto the team after the 2008 season and was added as a replacement last season.
But he has been present throughout the minicamps and organized team activities while working to improve his game.
After his third consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season, White wants more yards and believes he can improve his yards after a catch, which is commonly called YAC in the wide receiver meeting room.
White led the team with 392 yards after catches last season, followed by Tony Gonzalez's 240. But White averaged just 4.6 after a catch and Gonzalez averaged 2.9. Michael Jenkins had 126 yards after the catch, but averaged just 2.5 yards.
In 2008, Harry Douglas averaged 5.0 yards after the catch as a rookie.
For receivers with more than 50 catches last season, Dallas wide receiver Miles Austin led the league in YAC average at 7.6 yards. Green Bay's Greg Jennings was second at 7.1 and Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson was third at 6.8.
For tight ends with more than 50 catches last season, San Diego's Antonio Gates led the league in YAC average at 6.6. Philadelphia's Brent Celek was second at 6.0 and Pittsburgh's Heath Miller was third at 5.8.
"We can do a lot more of that," White said. "We are going to have to do a lot more of that. We have to break some more tackles, pick up some third downs and move the chains."
One of White's highlights from last season was a 90-yard play against San Francisco. He beat Nate Clements to the outside on a short route, slipped a tackle and raced up the sideline for the score.
White finished that game with a franchise-record 210 yards receiving, thanks in part to his YAC.
"YAC can just get us more possessions," White said. "That's our big thing because we want to be out there on the field as much as possible and try to eat the clock and score some more touchdowns."
The Falcons don't run the West Coast offense, which is designed in part to stack up yards after the catch. In that offense, there are a lot of short routes, such as slants, that can turn into big YAC plays. There is a premium placed on hitting receivers while they are on the move.
The Falcons' more conventional passing attack doesn't use players on the move as a main function.
"Yards after catch correlate to the type of passing game that you have," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "What kind of routes that you are asking your receivers to run."
After White's two Pro Bowls, he could have skipped some of the "voluntary" OTAs, but he looks at them as an opportunity to stay in shape and be around his teammates.
"That's real big when you have a chance to make the playoffs and make a run at this thing," White said.
And make some runs after catching the football.
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