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Mike Smith Hosting His First-ever Falcons Rookie Minicamp

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Coach has decided to kick all the big kids out of the pool for a special youngster's-only week of fun in the Flowery Branch sun. Via the AJC:

After putting the team through five minicamp practices earlier this month, Falcons coach Mike Smith will open his first rookie minicamp Monday. All of the 2010 draftees and undrafted college free agents will be on hand for practices Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

In addition to minicamps, most NFL teams also schedule rookie minicamps. In fact, the Dolphins, Bills, Browns, and several other teams had their RMC's a couple weeks ago. While this special dad-and-little-brothers time lets the coaches offer the young guys some extra personal instruction, it also means the rookies can make mistakes without any fear of Roddy White's watchful heckling.

"This year we are going to spend some time with the players in the classroom and really try to get them up to speed," Smith said.

Why the change, after two successful years without rookie camps? Not having an '08 camp makes sense -- the system was new for everyone that year, not just rooks. And in '09 they may have seemed unnecessary as virtually the whole '08 crop -- Matt Ryan, Curtis Lofton, and so forth -- immediately contributed on Sundays. Or maybe Smitty was less than ecstatic with the offseason preparations made by some members of last year's haul. Or maybe it was a three-year plan all along, who knows.

"No doubt about that, the rookies that we have and the two draft classes that we've put together, I think it's a solid group," Smith said. "Our roster is getting deeper and deeper. The deeper your roster gets, the more competition that you're going to have. That's a great thing not only for the guys on our team, but for the coaching staff."

Either way, the bar has been raised like a pub with hydraulics. Every member of the final 53 will be expected to know his or her (let's keep an open mind) role and contribute all season long.

Bonus: A Game of Rookie Tackle Football

Though they'll likely only be working through basic drills and labbing all week, with a few positional adjustments (tight ends Peek, Banks, and Palmer are joining the OL, and we're sliding safety Rafael Bush over to nickelback to compensate for the four-wide set) we could actually get a pretty good 11-on-11 going at some point this week:

Offense:

  • QB Eric Ward
  • RB Dimitri Nance
  • WR Kerry Meier
  • WR Brandyn Harvey
  • WR Tim Buckley
  • WR Ryan Wolfe
  • LT Michael Palmer
  • LG Leroy Banks
  • C Joe Hawley
  • RG Mike Johnson
  • RT Colin Peek

Defense:

  • DE Emmanuel Stephens
  • DE Rajon Henley
  • DT Corey Peters
  • DT Trey Bryant
  • OLB Sean Weatherspoon
  • MLB Bear Woods
  • CB Dominique Franks
  • CB Daylan Walker
  • NB Rafael Bush
  • SS Shann Schillinger
  • FS Gabe Derricks

Special teams:

  • LS Justin Drescher
  • K Garrett Lindholm

Bench:

  • LB Weston Johnson
  • CB Dominique Daniels

While the D has more all the depth, I don't see any way that secondary can do anything but wave at the offense's passing game. However we'd expect a vigorous pass rush and minimal threat of a running game due to having Holla & Friends on the O line, so the smart call would be shotgun lobs to Brandyn Harvey, who can employ his two-foot height advantage (I'm barely joking) over Daylan Walker for great success.