Monday was the last day of training camp for the Falcons. It was not open to the public, so there were no fans cheering, there was no music playing, and the overall tone at the beginning of practice was pretty much what you might expect after such a rough showing against the Texans on Saturday. It was somber.
Corey Peters did return to practice Monday, though he was limited. This would suggest that the estimate of having Corey ready to hit the field by week one of the regular season is accurate, and that's great news.
Jake Matthews did move to left tackle in yesterday's practice to address the vacancy left by Sam Baker and his torn patellar tendon. Yesterday was not a padded practice, so while Matthews looked fine in that role, there was very little contact and it's very difficult to gauge when the players are not in pads. Lamar Holmes primarily took snaps at right tackle. Gabe Carimi was on the field but did not practice. Carimi should also get some opportunities at right tackle when he returns from the ankle injury he suffered in camp recently.
Keith Armstrong worked players hard in special teams drills, which is to be expected coming off of such a poor showing against the Texans. Safety Sean Baker looked impressive in special teams work and is doing a good job of communicating on the field, which is really important. Dezmen Southward also looked good in special teams drills--which, again, were not full contact--but Southward was taking good angles to the returner and demonstrating a good understanding of how to use his speed to be effective in those scenarios.
T.J. Yates struggled some in passing drills. If I had to guess, I'd say that his performance Saturday has impacted him mentally, which is something he can ill afford with Sean Renfree performing better than Yates in preseason action.
There was a scuffle yesterday between Jonathan Massaquoi and Joe Hawley, and it was clear that Mike Smith's patience with the fighting is wearing thin. Fighting in practice sure didn't help the team be prepared for last Saturday's game and that's time that would be better spent actually working. I'm over it.
Devin Hester had a couple of miscommunications with quarterbacks, but also had a couple of impressive catches, and on one throw, Josh Wilson got position on Hester to intercept a pass, and Hester was able to knock it down before Wilson could control it. Ryan also handed off once to Hester in the backfield and he had a nice rush. I'd love to see the team use Hester in some unexpected ways to really complement his skill set.
Sean Weatherspoon was on the sideline with the defense yesterday actively serving as a coach. He has a real talent for identifying what his teammates need to work on and communicating that information to them. I was right behind Weatherspoon for much of the morning and was impressed with how committed he is to contributing even though he physically cannot play.
Matt Ryan had a couple of deep back shoulder throws to Julio Jones that were just flawless. That's something I hope to see quite a bit during the season. In situational drills, Ryan also had a deep throw out of his own end zone to Roddy White that was a beautiful reception by White. Dwight Lowery was covering White, and Ryan simply put the ball where nobody but White could get it. Ryan had a couple of nice connections with Harry Douglas, also. Again, these are no contact situations, but it does look like Ryan's chemistry with his receivers is quite good overall.
Today the team moves into a regular weekly schedule to prepare for Saturday's game against the Titans. They will do some game planning, but it won't be as extensive as it would be during the regular season.
What are your thoughts on the last day of training camp for the Falcons? What do you expect from the team this week against Tennessee?