The weather forecast was not good for yesterday's minicamp, but the clouds lifted about an hour before practice was scheduled to begin, and the official Atlanta Falcons Twitter account announced that the gates were open and practice was on, so I made my way to Flowery Branch to get an in-person look at the 2013 Falcons.
Unfortunately, the weather wouldn't hold. About 40 minutes into practice, the skies opened up, practice was moved inside, and the whole thing was closed to the public. I don't have much of a recap to share today, but there were a few things I saw prior to practice being closed that are worth sharing.
While practice remained open, fans got to see the team go through a variety of drills to work on agility and fundamentals. After that, they progressed through their normal stretching regimen, and then the offense and defense hit the field for 11-on-11 drills.
The main thing I noticed was that the guys were eager to hit the field. There was a lot of obvious excitement on both sides of the ball when the 11-on-11 drills began. I primarily focused on the offense yesterday--typically I try to spend some time watching both sides of the ball, but practice closed before I got an opportunity to focus on the defense.
Matt Ryan looks fine after the shoulder injury that hindered his performance in the NFC Championship Game. We've been told over and over again that it had healed fully and well, but--and maybe this is just me--I feel better after seeing with my own eyes that there is no lingering issue with the non-throwing shoulder.
It was fun to see Steven Jackson in action for the first time. Watching Jackson move through drills, there's a fluidity and quickness to Jackson that Michael Turner, bless his heart, did not have. In 11-on-11 drills, the first play from scrimmage was a handoff to Jackson, and--bearing in mind that no contact is permitted during minicamp, per the current CBA--he looks pretty explosive out of the backfield.
Fourth round draft choice Levine Toilolo is so tall that it doesn't even make sense. Toilolo was standing next to Matt Ryan, and he towers over Ryan, who is 6'4".
Phillipkeith Manley has definitely gained weight. Not 70 pounds, because that never made sense, but 17 pounds is not out of the realm of possibility. It was harder to tell from photos, and was more obvious in person.
Dominique Davis was running the second-team offense in 11-on-11 drills, and looked good. He has really good instincts and he's evasive. He can throw on the run and hit his target.
I will be back at practice today, as long as the weather cooperates, and I'll get a closer look at the defense. Do you have any questions about the first day of minicamp? What do you want to know from today's practice?