Since training camp is over and the Falcons are now working from a schedule that is more consistent with the one they will follow during the regular season, our access to practice has also changed. The first 30 minutes of each practice is open to the media, as opposed to full practices during training camp, so these observations will be more streamlined than they were during training camp.
Bernard Reedy continues to work with the return specialists in special teams drills, and got praise from the coaching staff. Josh Wilson also exhibited good vision as a returner. Jeremy Ebert is also getting reps as a return specialist, and his speed and hands make him well-suited for the role.
Ryan Schraeder looked really good blocking in special teams drills, knocking Antone Smith all the way to the ground at one point. Smith is a lot smaller than Schraeder so it's not that surprising, but he did look solid as a blocker.
Tyler Starr struggled a bit today, earning frustration from Coach Armstrong. Special teams will often be a young player's ticket to a roster spot, so these guys can ill afford to get on Armstrong's bad side with roster cuts rapidly approaching, especially after how poorly the team has performed on special teams thus far in preseason.
A fun takeaway from today's practice: Ra'Shede Hageman was applying deodorant on the sideline, and it was not Secret. It appeared to be Old Spice. I now know twice as much about Falcons players' deodorant preferences than I ever expected.
Mike Smith and Julio Jones are scheduled to speak with the media following the conclusion of practice, so we'll have an update later with details from their comments.
Discuss today's practice in the comments!