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FALCONS NOTEBOOK: OL has new face as opener nears

Falcons new OT Jeremy Trueblood

Falcons new OT Jeremy Trueblood

FLOWERY BRANCH — Lamar Holmes figured the Falcons would add a veteran right tackle to shore up his position, so he said he doesn’t feel any added pressure to perform now that Jeremy Trueblood is in the fold.

“It’s the name of the game,” Holmes said. “At the end of the day you’ve still just got to go play. You knew some time they were going to bring in somebody else.”

The Falcons signed Trueblood on Tuesday after he worked out for the team earlier in the week. With 84 starts and 101 games played at right tackle for Tampa Bay from 2006-12, he has much more experience than any of the Falcons’ other options to play the position.

“They just brought me in here to play football and whatever happens, happens,” Trueblood said. “I’m really here to enjoy the ride. As a competitor you always want to play. But if there is the (opportunity) to be best backup in the league, then that’s what you do.”

Holmes played only seven offensive snaps last season. He replaced Mike Johnson in the lineup after Johnson suffered a season-ending leg injury early in training camp, but struggled during the exhibition season.

Trueblood said he doesn’t think it will take him much time to learn the Falcons’ scheme because “you can really only run so many plays.” The challenge will be to learn terminology that is unique to the Falcons.

Trueblood will have some help from quarterback Matt Ryan, a former teammate at Boston College. He said he and Ryan had a conversation about the offense before Trueblood signed with the Falcons.

“He’s a great guy and very good teammate,” Ryan said. “A good player who’s played in a number of games and understands what it takes to be successful. I think he was a good pickup for us.”

The Redskins released Trueblood in their first round of cuts last week and later cut veteran tackle Tony Pashos. For tackle depth the Redskins will rely on Tom Compton, a 2012 draft pick who spent most of last season on the practice squad and didn’t play in a game.

Redskins general manager Bruce Allen drafted Trueblood in the second round of the 2006 draft while serving as Tampa Bay’s top football executive. Trueblood said he didn’t get much of a chance with the Redskins.

“I didn’t get to play much, so there’s not really much to judge,” he said. “If I would have got more opportunity I could have told you about that. Obviously it wasn’t the best camp of my life, but it’s kind of hard when you only get a couple reps in practice.”

Injury report: Four Falcons starters returned to practice Wednesday: kicker Matt Bryant (back), receiver Roddy White (ankle), cornerback Asante Samuel (thigh) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (thigh).

All but Bryant participated on a limited basis.

“We hope to increase their snaps tomorrow,” coach Mike Smith said.

White suffered an ankle injury during an exhibition game Aug. 15. He has started 128 consecutive games and has not missed a start in his NFL career.

White was not available when the team’s locker room was open to the media, and a team spokesman denied a request to interview him after practice.

Nicholas was injured Aug. 18 during practice. Samuel suffered his injury Aug. 24 during an exhibition game at Tennessee. Bryant felt tightness in his back while warming up before that game.

Rookies on deck: If Nicholas can’t play Sunday it could mean one of the Falcons’ two undrafted-free-agent linebackers, Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow, will play significant snaps from scrimmage against the Saints.

“Unfortunately for ‘Nic’ he hasn’t played much,” Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. “He’s been hurt the majority of the time (offseason and training camp). As far as who plays, a lot of it has to do with really being a case of trying to see how well he is more than anything else. I don’t think that Bartu and those guys have caught up with his experience but, at the same time, if a guy isn’t well that really overrides all the experience.”