We're a week into Falcons training camp, and we're learning a great deal about how the team is shaping up for the coming season. Since the team's schedule is a little different today, with no morning practice and Friday Night Lights coming up this evening at Buford High School in Buford, Georgia, it was a good opportunity to address some of the Falcons questions fans have about training camp thus far.
@jeannathomas what do you think about Michael Turner 2.0 aka Ward.— Richard Parker (@UpsguyatlParker) August 7, 2015
I'm really impressed with Ward so far. He's got a different skill set than Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and he's a pretty complete back. He's a solid blocker, a strong runner, and a decent receiver. Eager to see what he does in preseason.
@jeannathomas @falcfans Where do Falcon babies come from?— Paul (@GaVaHokie) August 7, 2015
Baby falcons are called eyasses, and they come from eggs.
@jeannathomas how is Grady Jarrett looking/fitting in?— Danny Townsend (@dtwnn) August 7, 2015
Grady Jarrett looks good. He's gotten up to speed pretty effectively. His height is an issue in some ways, but I think he'll be able to contribute on special teams this year. He definitely fits Dan Quinn's "fast and physical" ideal.
@jeannathomas Why is everything yall do terrible and bad?— Hotdog Sandwich Chef (@CrushTheFalcons) August 7, 2015
Saints fan, ladies and gentlemen. (He's actually a friend of mine, so don't be too hard on him.)
@jeannathomas how improved is the tight end corps compared to last year?— Rise Up Reader (@RiseUpReader) August 7, 2015
It's like night and day. Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki, if they both stay healthy, are looking like really solid additions to this roster. Tamme in particular has really impressed me throughout OTAs and training camp thus far. Levine Toilolo has demonstrated real improvement in terms of his blocking and receiving. This was definitely a position of need, and so far it looks like the team has addressed that need really effectively.
@jeannathomas are you wearing make-up? And a follow-up..... How many co-workers can see you?— Jeff Wolff (@jeffwolff70) August 7, 2015
I am currently not wearing makeup, but my only coworkers are the guys I write with here at The Falcoholic, and they don't actually live at my house, so none of them can see me at the moment. We're all really good friends, so I wouldn't really care either way. This wasn't really a training camp or Falcons question, haha.
@RiseUpReader @jeannathomas we had a tight end corps last year ?— Shane Ryan (@Sparks3333) August 7, 2015
@jeannathomas Serious Q - what’s your biggest concern going into the preseason games?— The DW (@FalcoholicDW) August 7, 2015
My biggest concern heading into preseason is definitely the offensive line. I'm a little troubled by the fact that the coaching staff still seems to be trying to settle on the starting five, and this transition to a whole new scheme is a huge adjustment. With the lineup seemingly in constant flux, it's hard for these guys to develop any kind of cohesion and chemistry, and they really need that heading into the season. I like a lot of what I'm seeing from the offensive line in practices in general, but they're still my biggest concern at present.
@jeannathomas What area looks the weakest and would you anticipate that we fill any voids with other teams camp cuts?— Paul (@GaVaHokie) August 7, 2015
I'll just refer you to my answer above for the first part of this question. Dan Quinn has said that the team seriously considers any available player in the context of team needs and how they think a specific guy might help the Falcons win. I do think it's possible the team would jump for some camp casualties to shore up the roster when we get to that point.
@jeannathomas ok so I'm serous this time--do you expect Beasley to exclusively play on passing-downs or will they play him every down?— Kyle McClendon (@KyleWMcClendon) August 7, 2015
I personally think the team will use Beasley primarily on passing downs, but I could be wrong. Really looking forward to seeing what he does during preseason action.
@jeannathomas are you....fired up?— ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@DopeItsLarry) August 7, 2015
@jeannathomas will the Falcons run for third and short? Ryan dropped back too often last season.— Lee Jay (@kusonagi) August 7, 2015
Yeah, the team has worked on these short yardage situations quite a bit in practice, and I do think they'll be able to run the ball pretty effectively. Balancing out the offense a bit is going to be so great for the offense overall.
@jeannathomas I have to say the bottom dropped out yesterday after hearing about Devonta's hammie. Should we be panicked?— Roddy McKinnon (@rocokin) August 7, 2015
I mean, it's not ideal. Hamstring injuries take time to heal, and if they rush these guys back, they risk exacerbating the issue. As far as long-term impact, I don't think fans need to panic.
@jeannathomas We keep hearing who's stood out in a good way.. but who's the biggest standout in a negative sense thus far?— Matt de Lisle (@MdeLisle84) August 7, 2015
I hate to even say this, because I can anticipate the reaction, but second rounder Jalen Collins is struggling a bit. There are several caveats here. First, he's going up against incredible talent at receiver. That's only going to help him develop, and quickly. Second, Collins did miss part of OTAs due to a foot injury, and I think that's put him just a bit behind in terms of his development. Third, we knew Collins was raw and was going to be a project, so I don't think any of this is particularly unexpected. Desmond Trufant missed part of OTAs his rookie season and where Collins is in terms of adjusting to the speed of the game reminds me quite a bit of Trufant at this point of his rookie year. Look at Trufant now.
@jeannathomas who are your top 5 standouts in camp so far? Offensive or defensive.— Everett G (@Everett_G24) August 7, 2015
In no particular order, Vic Beasley, Adrian Clayborn, Phillip Adams, Leonard Hankerson, and Jacob Tamme.
@jeannathomas what are your thoughts on @MVPWard? Is @AJaClay really that fast off the ball? Do you think we finally have a pass rush?— Brandon Reeves (@Georgiaboy04) August 7, 2015
I'll refer you to my answer about Terron Ward above, but I'm really impressed with him. Adrian Clayborn is absolutely that fast off the ball. If he stays healthy, he's going to really have an impact this season. I do think the new talent and the simplified scheme are going to improve the pass rush, which is great, because the team basically hasn't had any pass rush for years.
@jeannathomas so far in camp who has stood out to you the most? Are you going to Friday night lights? Alright that's it have a great day!!— Brandon Reeves (@Georgiaboy04) August 7, 2015
I answered the standout players question above, also, and I will be at Friday Night Lights. I always look forward to it. It should be a lot of fun. I hope you have a great day, too, Brandon.
@jeannathomas any FA RBs we are loking at or not to that pt yet?— Brian Gantt (@briangantt1) August 7, 2015
I don't think the team is particularly concerned at this point. They've seen enough from Devonta and Coleman that not having them on the field as they recover from their respective hamstring injuries really just gives the coaching staff the opportunity to more closely evaluate Antone Smith, Terron Ward and Jerome Smith. Freeman and Coleman should definitely be ready for the regular season.
@jeannathomas do you think Ricardo Allen will stick at starting FS?— Sinjin Snopczynski (@snopesinjin) August 7, 2015
I do, actually. It'll be interesting to see how he manages the communication and what his range is like in preseason action, but so far I've been really impressed with his adjustment to the position.
@jeannathomas Will Aldon Smith or Ray Rice be there? Cuz they should be.— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) August 7, 2015
Aaron, can you please just not?
@jeannathomas Will Tony Moeaki prefer if fans called him Tony Milwaukee?— Allen Strk (@Allen_Strk) August 7, 2015
I think people mispronounce his name a lot, so he'd probably be fine with it.
Ask your training camp questions in the comments, and look for our coverage of Friday Night Lights this evening.