The Falcons are starting to knock off some of that offseason rust.
The first couple days of training camp are already in the books, and the Falcons look to enter the 2013 season as confident as one might expect of a team that came mere yards short of a trip to the Superbowl last January. Headlining this year's Falcons squad will once again be an offensive group that has an impressive core group of skill players and one Matt Ryan, who just got a nice, fat paycheck.
While Atlanta's first-team offense is pretty much already set in stone, especially at wideout with the uber-talented duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones, the Falcons also come into camp with a huge number of inexperienced, untested wideouts. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution gets an interesting quote from Mike Smith in the post-practice presser:
"I think there are a couple of young guys that are going to grab the attention of the coaches over the next couple of weeks. We know that Kevin Cone and Drew Davis have some experience, but there are a couple of those young wide receivers that have made some catches, not only in one-on-one but in team situations as well."
Who could Ryan be referring to? I might be able to glean some info for myself in the near future. But for now, I'll say my guesses would be James Rodgers and Marcus Jackson, both of whom spent last season on the practice squad.
Jackson, who came on board as an undrafted free agent out of Lamar University, caught 24 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns as a college senior. He's more of a possession receiver at 6'1 and 195, but he looks pretty fluid in the open field on film and he comes in with special teams experience.
Of course, Rodgers the younger also has plenty of special teams experience, though I feel like his skill set is so similar to his brother's that he could have a tough time making the roster.
The other four guys (Martel Moore, Marcus Sales, Rashad Evans, Darius Johnson) are more unknown, and they're all fresh to the system. Having that one extra year of experience might help Rodgers and Jackson when cut time finally arrives.
Speaking of players with one year under their belt, former second-round pick Peter Konz has looked good early on in training camp. Ryan said Konz has showed maturity, and confirmed the popular notion that Konz should be the team's starting center this year.
He's really one of the most mature guys I've seen. Making the transition to center this year, a position that he played in college, is a place that he feels really comfortable. He’s taken on a lot in terms of the mental aspect. We ask our centers to do a lot in the run game at the line of scrimmage getting everybody situated, and he’s handled that seamlessly.
So what do we think? Will Konz excel at center? Will anyone supplant Drew Davis and Kevin Cone at backup wide receiver? Sound off.