The Falcons took the practice field this morning after a much-needed day of rest, and it looked like the team had a little rust to shake off, as it was a sloppy day. There were lots of flags thrown by the refs head coach Dan Quinn has at practice each day, and the offense had a lot of drops and fumbles.
Jonathan Asamoah missed practice due to illness. Tevin Coleman was held out of practice with a hamstring issue, and Brooks Reed was also out as he continues to deal with a hip strain. Undrafted free agent rookie tight end Beau Gardner also left practice with what Dan Quinn described as a knee injury after practice, though he did not have any specific information on the severity.
Not to harp on this, but it was really the sloppiest day the offense has had thus far. There was quite a bit of shuffling on the offensive line, which may have had something to do with it. Mike Person spent some time at center, which was new. Communication and timing just seemed to be off between the offensive line and the quarterbacks. Some of this may be adjusting to getting back on the field after a day off; some of it may be chemistry issues because of personnel shifting around.
Devonta Freeman and Terron Ward both got a little more work with Tevin Coleman out today. Both had good days, but Devonta looked particularly good in the passing game. He was making difficult contested catches consistently.
Levine Toilolo is showing genuine improvement. Toilolo draws a lot of criticism from fans, but he works extremely hard, and that hard work is paying off. The most notable improvement is probably in his blocking form, and that's made a big difference in his effectiveness, but he's also catching the ball consistently. I don't think I saw him miss a reception today.
Tony Moeaki seemed more consistent today, and Jacob Tamme had another solid performance today. Tamme got the best of William Moore, scoring on him in one-on-ones. Tamme's doing a really nice job of getting separation.
Not surprisingly, Julio Jones, Leonard Hankerson, and Justin Hardy stood out to me during receiver drills in the red zone. Hardy also had a really nice catch in traffic during 11-on-11s. He's developing nicely.
The secondary is coming together nicely, and there are a number of players in the defensive backfield who are perfect fits for the physical style of coverage the new scheme entails, but the number of flags being thrown in coverage suggests that there's still a balance that group needs to strike.
Ricardo Allen had a really good day, getting work with the first team defense and special teams units. The only time I saw him struggle a bit was in coverage against Jacob Tamme. Allen's height is always going to create some matchup concerns about tight ends.
Defensive back Akeem King, a seventh-round selection in this year's draft, had the most success defending Tamme today, keeping him from scoring in one-on-ones. As well as Tamme has played, that was pretty impressive.
The Falcons seemed to be operating out of the nickel quite a bit in the red zone.
Marquis Spruill got some reps in with the first team in 11-on-11s today. Dan Quinn indicated earlier in camp that getting guys first team reps allows the coaching staff to better evaluate their abilities.
@jeannathomas Linebackers. I actually think D front and Secondary will be stronger than LB's.— Andrew Hill (@drewhill29) August 5, 2015
Based on what I'm seeing so far, I do think the defensive line and the secondary will be the stronger units on the field. That said, if the linebackers have better gap discipline and take better angles to the ball, should be an improved unit regardless. The angles in particular have looked better thus far.
@jeannathomas how's the TE competition? Will Toilolo stick?— Joey Cook (@JCook03) August 5, 2015
I've noted a few times how much Toilolo seems to have improved. I do think that if the team carries three TEs he definitely sticks as the third.
@jeannathomas any of the rookie DBs looking good? Collins, King, Mincey?— Troy Daniel (@TeeDubyaD) August 5, 2015
All three of these guys have impressed me at times throughout camp. King had a great day today. Collins will get up to speed quickly, I think, just from having to face guys like Julio Jones and Roddy White in practice. Mincy has made some nice plays on the ball in OTAs and in camp.
@jeannathomas was there good chemistry between Ryan and the O-line; Ryan and WRs— Vinny Falcon (@Vincruze) August 5, 2015
Today the offensive chemistry seemed pretty rocky between all the quarterbacks and every version of the offensive line. Ryan's chemistry with the receivers looks solid.
@jeannathomas did you see an issue with Grady Jarretts height during the 'bat the ball' drill at the line?— Charles Soles (@papachaz57) August 5, 2015
Yeah, it definitely was an issue. Grady Jarrett brings a lot of great qualities to the field, particularly his athleticism, but he's not going to be tipping many passes or anything like that.
It was by far the shakiest practice we've seen thus far. Dan Quinn felt the issues we saw today could be easily corrected.
My money's on Devonta, though I do believe Coleman won't be far behind in terms of number of carries.
@jeannathomas Do the LB's seem vastly improved or slightly improved?— Paul (@GaVaHokie) August 5, 2015
Let's go with "slightly," though taking better angles to the ball is a pretty significant and important improvement. Eager to see how they look against actual opponents in preseason.
@jeannathomas the defense isn’t putting lineman in pass coverage, are they?— Kenny P (@KennyP_757) August 5, 2015
You mean like asking Kroy Biermann to cover Greg Jennings? Haha, no.
@jeannathomas saw quite a few drops, fumbles, offsides & false starts today. Rust after a day off or cause for concern?— Mark Cooper (@HangNwitCoop) August 5, 2015
I think it's rust and communication issues. Hopefully we'll see improvement tomorrow.
Really, really well. Several guys in the secondary have described it as a "see ball, get ball" scheme, and it's really physical and simple. They're free to actually react to what's happening on the field as opposed to trying to think through whatever Mike Nolan was trying to have them do last season. It's the perfect scheme for players like Robert Alford and William Moore, guys who played fast and physical even when that wasn't the team's focus.
@jeannathomas another one please ma'am, we're not hearing anything on Konz, where's he at recovery wise?— Charles Soles (@papachaz57) August 5, 2015
Konz is out there, and he looks healthy. He worked really hard to rehab and he's working really hard now. I think he's best suited for a backup role; his experience at guard and center may be an asset for him as the team whittles down to the final roster.
@jeannathomas is there really any reason for me to still believe in Toilolo? I really want to.— Justin Baker (@TigerRaid) August 5, 2015
I feel like I'm being really redundant, but yeah, Toilolo is genuinely improved. It'll probably come down to how many TEs the team wants to keep, because I definitely have both Tamme and Moeaki penciled in ahead of him, but he's played well enough to earn a roster spot, and he certainly has value as a red zone target in particular.
@jeannathomas Who are standouts as of right now on the D-Line?— Everett G (@Everett_G24) August 5, 2015
Jonathan Babineaux, RaShede Hageman and Adrian Clayborn have all impressed me.
In my opinion, Jake Matthews, Chris Chester, Joe Hawley, Jonathan Asamoah, Ryan Schraeder.
@jeannathomas how is the morale at camp compared to last year?— Lord Hudson (@L0rd91) August 5, 2015
Morale is really good. Players like the way Quinn runs things.
@jeannathomas how's the mentality changed at camp with a new coach? How's Shede and Beasley looking?— kam on rye (@airkammy) August 5, 2015
The main difference you notice is just the speed of everything. Practice wraps up well within the published two-hour timeframe because the team stays focused and accomplishes all they need to quickly. Shede and Beasley both look great so far. Beasley's first step is insane, and Shede's slimmer frame has only complemented his athleticism.
Ask your questions about camp and share your observations in the comments.