We are just a few days into camp, and Atlanta fans appear most interested in Ra'Shede Hageman's progress. On Wednesday, Hageman talked with reporters at camp, including with the Falcoholic's very own Jeanna Thomas. Here is what he had to say about the defensive line under Dan Quinn.
It is good spirits around the whole D line. We are able to talk to each other and read off each other because we have been around each other for so long.
Asked if he felt quicker, Hageman said he lost weight, and is almost unbelievably "a lot stronger." Hageman is working on how to best utilize his impressive strength on the field.
Regarding his weight, Hageman said he was down to 311 pounds, after getting into camp last year at about 320 pounds. Now slimmer, he has noticed that he is getting quicker off the snap, even though he already flashed some nasty initial burst in his rookie year.
Bench press is my thing. The legs? I'm still working on that.
Hageman said he is continuing to pour over game film, and legitimately sounds excited to move forward into his second year. While he may not have made the best impression during some of last year's Hard Knocks, he acknowledged he reached a turnaround during his rookie year and has had a "demeanor change." Hageman is saying all the right things this year. He is eating right and is working to improve his game.
Hageman mentioned a new focus for the defense.
The defense is [placing importance] on getting the ball out. It is easy to make a tackle, but why not get the ball out? It is just a different mentality we have now, just getting the ball out, stripping it, any way to get the ball loose.
Things are really looking up for Hageman.
Dan Quinn is expected to move Hageman around the defense, similar(ish) to Michael Bennett in Seattle. The defensive philosophy should really allow Hageman to play up to his abilities, instead of being hindered by Mike Nolan's confusing, complex, and convoluted game plan. Hageman ended his rookie season with some truly spectacular flashes. Now Hageman has dropped additional weight, is saying all the right things, and appears to have the mentality needed to play up to his potential.