|"Are you ready for some football, Stephen Nicholas?"|
Knowing that the Falcons will be back in the Dome tonight for real football, albeit preseason, has me nearly incoherent with anticipation. I know I’m not alone in my enthusiasm, as the excitement was palpable on the field at The Branch during Wednesday’s training camp practice. After the jump, we’ll hit the high points of the questions Falcoholic readers have asked about training camp, and share some photos from Wednesday’s practice.
Not surprisingly, a lot of people want to know what Ray Edwards has been doing in practice, and surprisingly, that answer continues to be, "not much." News of Edwards’ offseason minor knee surgery has been made public, which explains his lack of participation in full contact drills. During walk-through drills, I have seen rapport building between Edwards and John Abraham, and when full contact drills are occurring, Edwards is watching intently, absorbing all he can. I really have no concerns about his assimilation into our defensive line. We just need to be prepared for the fact that we will not see much contribution from Edwards during this preseason.
|Ray Edwards, far left, watches and learns until he is cleared for full contact participation.|
|Here's Kiante Tripp for you.|
I have not seen Chauncey Davis taking first team reps. I actually did not catch Davis doing much of anything on Wednesday, but will try to provide an update on his performance next week.
Jerry has been taking some first team reps and looks solid. Currently, Corey Peters is listed ahead of Jerry on the unofficial depth chart for tonight’s game, but there may be a real battle between these two for the starting spot. Both have looked fully prepared to be starters during practices.
Regarding ndnpride8806’s question about Kroy Biermann, I think that Biermann will see a lot of action this year to keep Edwards fresh. Biermann was a beast on special teams last year, and it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff will decide to utilize his talent this year. Biermann has looked good and focused in practices.
In general, in scrimmage situations, our defensive line is looking solid at this point even without Ray Edwards participating fully. Take a look at John Abraham pursuing Matt Ryan. If this does not make you excited about the beginning of the season, you have no soul.
|Hold on, Abe, that's YOUR quarterback!|
After watching his performance in camp to date, I am eager to see Jacquizz Rodgers in action tonight against the Dolphins, and really just mentioned him in this post as an excuse to share this photo. He looks tiny, but his thighs are roughly the same size as my eleven-year-old.
|Ladies and gentlemen, your change of pace back.|
Wednesday was by far the most fun I have ever had at training camp. The players’ energy level was extremely high, and it’s evident how excited they are to meet the Dolphins on the field this evening.
|Ovie Mughelli and Harry Douglas get the crowd involved.|
|Backup center Rob Bruggeman is pumped.|
We have also reached the point in the preseason when it is difficult for players to contain their aggression. We saw a couple of tussles between offensive linemen and defensive players on Wednesday. These guys are ready to put some real hits on somebody. Watch out, Dolphins!
|Babs is ready to hit somebody who isn't on his team.|
For me, the most exciting aspect of team morale that I have witnessed this week is the cohesion. It doesn’t matter how many stars you stack your roster with (I will neither confirm nor deny if that was a reference to the Eagles) if a sense of team unity doesn’t exist. Our Falcons are all of one accord, and that, more than anything else I’ve seen, makes me quite optimistic about the coming season. Below are a few more training camp photos to tide you over until kickoff this evening.
|Quarterback BFFs J.P. Wilson, Chris Redman, and Matt Ryan.|
|"That's my quarterback."|
|These three have rapport for days.|
|Defense in motion.|
|"I know, Roddy! I can't believe ESPN ranked the Saints above us, either!"|
|Dying to know what Dimitroff is doing in this photo. Caption contest, anyone?|
|Striking fear into the hearts of defenses everywhere.|
|Bear and Thor.|
|Roddy, putting on a clinic.|
|Defense! (Clap clap.) Defense! (Clap clap.)|
|Michael Turner has two tickets to the gun show.|