After this long interval with no football, training camp is finally just a week away, and we're here to help you prepare with a comprehensive preview of what to expect from camp this year.
Here are all the schedule details so you can make plans to attend open session or just keep an eye out on Twitter and on the site for our coverage.
Friday, July 31 - Practice 10 a.m.-noon (open to the public)
Saturday, August 1 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Sunday, August 2 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Monday, August 3 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Tuesday, August 4 - Players' Day Off
Wednesday, August 5 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Thursday, August 6 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Friday, August 7 - KIA Motors "Friday Night Lights", Buford High School (open to the public)
Saturday, August 8 - Players' Day Off
Sunday, August 9 - Practice 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (open to the public)
Monday, August 10 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Tuesday, August 11 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Wednesday, August 12 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Thursday, August 13 - Practice 11:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. (open to the public)
Friday, August 14 - Preseason, Falcons vs. Tennessee Titans, Georgia Dome, 7:00 p.m. ET, CW69
Saturday, August 15 - Players' Day Off
Monday, August 17 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Tuesday, August 18 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Wednesday, August 19 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
There's been a whole lot of talk about an extension for Julio Jones, but no action toward actually getting it done. In the past, the Falcons have had a tendency toward signing their guys right around the start of camp, so it's still a possibility, and it's definitely something fans will be keeping an eye on as training camp approaches.
New head coach Dan Quinn has changed a lot about the way this organization approaches practice, player instruction, etcetera, and these changes will certainly be a big storyline throughout training camp.
One of the major changes under Dan Quinn has been the willingness to consider players' viability in other positions. Dezmen Southward has transitioned to cornerback, while Ricardo Allen is getting a shot at free safety. With new schemes on both sides of the ball, it will also be interesting to see how established players are being used differently and to get a glimpse of how the team plans to use rookies and this offseason's free agent acquisitions.
The Falcons suddenly find themselves with an embarrassment of riches at the wide receiver position, and while Jones and Roddy White should be pretty well established at the top of the depth chart, and both Leonard Hankerson and rookie Justin Hardy showed a lot of promise during OTAs. Devin Hester and Eric Weems will battle it out with players like Bernard Reedy and Freddy Martino to round out the depth chart.
What to expect:
Training camp was always pretty consistent under the leadership of Mike Smith. The team did the same drills, mostly in the same order, at the same pace and with the same level of intensity for years and years. Everything has changed.
Look for a dramatic difference in the pace of practice, and look for which guys are best able to keep up with that pace. The purpose of the pace of practice is partly to prepare players for the speed of actual games, and if guys on the roster bubble are struggling to keep up, it may provide some insight into how the final roster may look.
Look for the subtle changes in teaching style from the last regime to Dan Quinn's staff, even with the coaches who were retained. It's not at all that coaches are taking it easy on the players -- can you even imagine Bryan Cox taking it easy on anyone? -- but the way they instruct players is vastly different. It's fun to watch.
If you have specific questions about what to expect at training camp, I'm happy to answer them. Ask them in the comments.
There's always extensive talk about competition between teammates for starting roles and playing time during training camp, but Dan Quinn and his staff place a real emphasis on competition during practice. This is going to be a lot of fun to watch.
The Falcons opted to not re-sign Dwight Lowery, who was a serviceable stopgap at free safety last season, choosing instead to sign Charles Godfrey. Godfrey will compete with converted cornerback Ricardo Allen for the starting role. With Godfrey, if he's healthy, you'll get a steady veteran presence, and Allen demonstrated real potential at the position during OTAs, so this one should be pretty interesting.
Robert Alford and 2015 second round selection Jalen Collins will be battling it out for the opportunity to start outside opposite Desmond Truant, and it remains to be seen who's going to emerge as the favorite in the nickel position.
The Falcons clearly placed a priority on the tight end position this offseason, signing both Tony Moeaki and Jacob Tamme and retaining Levine Toilolo. Keep an eye on how the depth chart is going to shake out here. Both Moeaki and Tamme seem to have really nice chemistry with Matt Ryan, so it should be a heated battle.
The Falcons, for the first time in a long time, have two promising young running backs on the roster, as well as big play threat Antone Smith, to work with, and they're committed to establishing a ground game this season. Both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are competitive and eager to convince the coaching staff of their respective talents. This competition is going to be so much fun to watch.
What are you most looking forward to about training camp?