June 6, 2012; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) during organized team activities at the Falcons training facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
Next week’s mini-camp in Flowery Branch will feature three open practices, and I’m already afflicted with severe football ADD (it’s a real thing) in anticipation of actually getting to see the team in some semblance of action. With some new players, and many new coaches, I am eager to get an early look at the 2012 Falcons.
There are some very important things we could learn from mini-camp. Join me after the jump for some of the things I’ll be watching for next week.
Numerous reports from OTAs indicate that players are excited about the new faces on the coaching staff. I, for one, am looking forward to observing the dynamic between the new coaches and the players. Also, going into last season, the keyword seemed to be "explosive" in terms of offense. I haven’t heard that word used once to refer to the 2012 Falcons, and I’m okay with that. Instead, reports indicate that the offense is developing excellent chemistry, and the defense is being referred to as "aggressive"--regarding Nolan’s scheme and the players’ execution of it. I’m looking forward to getting a look at the chemistry between the players and their enthusiasm for the new schemes.
Some readers have made requests for specific things I should watch for next week. How quickly is Matt Ryan releasing the ball? Ray Edwards has declared himself healthy, as Dave reported this morning, so I will be looking for improvement in his performance. We’ve heard multiple reports of guys bulking up, notably Ryan and Harry Douglas. I’ll be watching for any impact on performance and speed from them. We’re all aware of the competition for starting jobs on the offensive line and at middle linebacker, and although veteran minicamps are unlikely to contribute much to the final outcome, I will be keeping an eye on it. I’m also interested in the dynamic between Asante Samuel, Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson, and where they are lining up in practice situations.
What are you looking forward to learning from veteran mini-camps? Let me know if there is anything specific you would like to know, and look for my recap next Friday at noon.