Falcons fullback Patrick DiMarco welcomes competition

When the Atlanta Falcons signed fullback Collin Mooney a few weeks ago, it didn't take incumbent Patrick DiMarco by surprise.

DiMarco understood there would be competition across the board under new coach Dan Quinn.

"It's just going to push me to be a better player," DiMarco said. "When competition comes to you, you've got to step up to the plate and you've got to play good. That's my whole thing. There's nothing that he's going to do that's going to change me. I've just got to continue to work on my craft and continue to get better every day."

DiMarco, with 14 starts over the past two seasons, had a rough end to the 2014 campaign. Remember, he dropped a sure touchdown in the second quarter of a 34-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers, a game which decided the NFC South title. Despite the blunder, the Falcons signed DiMarco to a two-year contract extension.

Now he has to go out and prove he belongs in new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's system. Last year, DiMarco played 209 offensive snaps and outside of blocking, contributed nine catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. He's spent part of the offseason working with a personal trainer to improve his quickness, speed and strength in preparation for the offensive adjustment.

"It's been good so far," DiMarco said of the new scheme. "Guys have been out there flying around. The tempo and the all-around attitude of everybody is real high."

If DiMarco continues to show up on special teams, he should have a place on the roster regardless. Special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong has often singled out DiMarco's contributions.

"Yes, having Keith on my side is definitely great," DiMarco said. "Being there the last two years, he knows what I'm capable of. So, it's definitely an asset."

Surely Mooney, who last played in a regular-season game for Tennessee in 2013, will try to make his mark on special teams as well.

"He seems like a great dude, a tough kid," DiMarco said of Mooney. "I'm excited to play with him and kind of just feed off each other."