Our intrepid reporter Jeanna Thomas did not make the trip to Houston—something lame about a "life" and "family" and "other job"—but we still have information to pass on from the morning session in the blistering Texas city.
The Falcons and Texans met up for the first of two practices ahead of Saturday night's game, and it got heated at moments. Most of the focus from those in attendance was on the battles between Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watts and the Falcons' tackles, specifically young Jake Matthews.
Let's take a closer look at some observations.
Matthews wasn't perfect against either Watt or Clowney, but by all accounts he did good work against one great pass rusher and another who might be great. Matthews also reportedly grabbed Brooks Reed by the neck at one point after getting beaten, so there's some neck-grabbin' fire for you.
wtf RT @vxmcclure23: Looked like Baker handled Clowney with ease near the end of one on one pass rush drills— Jason Kirk (@JasonKirkSBN) August 13, 2014
There was a lot of good-natured disbelief on the Twitter machine this morning when we started hearing about Baker, but like Matthews, he seemed to at least split his battles against Clowney and Watt. It's critically important for this Falcons offense that Baker is 2012 Baker and not either Injured Baker or Terrible Baker this season, so I'll take any positive sign I can get.
Kimario McFadden with pick of tipped pass— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 13, 2014
McFadden's only shot would appear to be the Falcons keeping five safeties, and for them to do that, they'd have to thin things out at linebacker or along the defensive line, which figures to be critically important this year. With Dwight Lowery an injury risk and not much experience behind him, maybe McFadden still gets a shot. Sean Baker would also be in the conversation.
Watt just knocked Blalock back again— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 13, 2014
This isn't particularly concerning, but it's worth noting. Blalock has always done well as a pass protector on the left side, but a guy like Watt is a total mismatch when he moves inside. The Falcons figure to have some problems on the interior when they're up against truly huge, elite pass rushers who don't just come off the edge, but I think we've known that for a while.
Ebert and Reedy getting some run with Matt Ryan's offense during team. #aftc14— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) August 13, 2014
Ebert and Reedy are fighting for the same roster spot, and the Falcons are at least giving each one a chance to shine here. Reedy has the leg up, I believe, but it's possible Ebert's on board as the sixth receiver if the Falcons choose to go that route.
What are you hoping to see from tomorrow's practice?