"I feel that I've had a good fall camp," said Mathews. "My strength is my route-running and I've been working on catching the ball well. I just want to play and to help the team. I wasn't able to do that as much as I wanted last year. None of the tight ends were, I think, so we're all pushing each other and trying to help out more this year."
WILSON, MAHINA IMPROVING: Although Holt and Mathews have emerged so far, the tight end battle isn't over. Players such as Richard Wilson and Devin Mahina are nipping at the heels of the two frontrunners and making the competition as competitive as possible.
Wilson, in particular, has started to make good catches during team drills with the first-team offense.
"I think that I've been able to make the most of my opportunities when I've had the chance," he said. "I just need to continue doing that. I need to respond with every situation they put me in, and if I do, I'll play and I'll help this team."
While Holt has benefited greatly with the change of the offense, pulling ahead in the battle through practice sessions, it's been somewhat the opposite for Wilson. Without spring practices, he's had to play a lot of catch-up.
"I wasn't able to be out there with this new offense, and that's been a challenge for sure," he said. "I feel that I've been able to make up a lot of ground though and I just need to keep with it. Last year you saw five or six guys play throughout the game, but it won't be like that this year. This year, it will be just two or three guys that will probably play, so I definitely want to be one of those guys."
Reynolds feels that both Wilson and Mahina add a new dimension to the position that will benefit them both.
"Richard is physical, but he can run really well," Reynolds said. "He can do things that Austin and some of the other guys can't, so that helps him. Devin (Mahina) is different than Austin with what he can do, but that's OK. They each need to just focus on their strengths. They're both committed and they're trying, but they don't have that same strut when they go about what they do like Austin does and that's what I want to see."
Overall, Reynolds has been pleased with how the battle has shaped up so far.
"Austin has a prominence in the locker room now, and you want a guy that takes that lead and shows everyone else how it's done," he said. "I think they're following that lead as best they can and we're going to be much improved at the position because of it. I like how each guy is competing and now it's my job, it's all of our jobs to make sure that continues throughout the year."
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