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Falcons Training Camp 2015: Military Appreciation Day

Tons of fans turned out to watch the Falcons practice and honor our military on a sweltering August morning.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons honored our military and their families today at training camp, and the team partnered with the TAPS program, an organization that supports military families who have lost family members, to provide children who have lost parents in the line of duty with the experience of meeting and interacting with players. Children from the TAPS program joined players on the Falcons March to the practice field, led by Freddie Falcon and the Atlanta Falcons drum line.

Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman remained sidelined with their respective hamstring injuries, and Cliff Matthews did not participate in practice again today as he continues to deal with an ankle injury. Brooks Reed is still out with the groin/hip strain. Devin Hester did not participate in practice, and Dan Quinn told the media that Hester has a toe that's bothering him. Quinn doesn't expect Hester to miss more than a day or two.


  • There continue to be adjustments along the offensive line. James Stone got some work at left guard with the first team today. This lineup is something to keep an eye on heading into preseason action on Friday.
  • Terron Ward got most of the first team reps at running back today and continues to make the most of that opportunity. He's certainly making the process of whittling down the roster a lot more interesting for the coaching staff.
  • Colin Mooney got first team reps at fullback today. I think the competition between Mooney and DiMarco is too close to call at this point.
  • Eric Weems seemed to catch everything that was thrown his way today, regardless of which quarterback was throwing to him. Receiver is another really crowded position, so it's important for guys like Weems and Bernard Reedy to make as much of an impression as possible.


  • RaShede Hageman looks likely to earn significant playing time this season. He's coming off the snap really fast and pushing into the backfield consistently. Interior pressure isn't often discussed in terms of the pass rush, but if Hageman, Jonathan Babineaux and Adrian Clayborn can continue to get into the backfield they way they have in training camp, it will help a great deal.

Fan Questions

It was hotter than my hottest takes, Jay. That's pretty hot.

No, I did not! I'm pretty busy working when I'm here, which keeps me from really getting to meet people.

No, Vinny. Just no.

I'm leaning toward a practice squad spot for Ward, simply because it's a crowded position and I know the team loves Antone Smith's home run potential. Ward has really impressed me, and if Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman weren't both ahead of him, I'd definitely say Ward had a serious shot at the 53-man roster.

Well, the Drew Davis question is easy to answer, because he isn't on the roster, haha. Joplo Bartu seems to be adjusting to the new scheme. I think he'll stick as a backup.

I'm totally speculating here, but I think it's a combination of three things in terms of Levine Toilolo's improvement. First, Toilolo works really hard. His work ethic is impeccable. Second, I do think the offseason additions of Tony Moeaki and Jacob Tamme have probably pushed Toilolo a bit. Third, I think he's just naturally progressing and developing as a player in general because of experience.

Southward has a big adjustment with the transition to a new position, particularly after missing some time in OTAs after minor knee surgery, but he's getting up to speed. Jalen Collins is still struggling a bit with the speed of the game, which isn't at all unusual, but he's working really hard to correct mistakes and get better. Akeem King looks like he's coming along nicely.

I think Toilolo is making a very strong case to be the third tight end on the final roster. I do think the team will definitely keep Tamme and Moeaki. Kyle Shanahan likes to run a lot of two tight end sets, so I could see the team carrying three tight ends to have a backup with Moeaki's injury history in particular.

I genuinely get the sense that this coaching staff isn't wed to any particular players. If some undrafted free agent outplays a veteran and gives the team a better chance to win, I believe they'll get serious consideration for the final roster. I'd keep an eye on preseason game performances, because how these guys perform in game situations will be the best indicator of their final roster potential.

They're still shaking up the o-line makeup in practice, so it's hard to tell. I'm looking forward to seeing what the offensive line does on Friday. Lots of people asked about the backup quarterback battle today. Sean Renfree does look better than T.J. Yates at this point, but it will come down to preseason performance. The thing to keep in mind is, if Matt Ryan goes down, there is a vast, vast difference between Ryan's ability and the talent of Yates or Renfree, so keep your fingers crossed that the Falcons don't need to play either of these guys.

I know people are getting tired of hearing me rave about Levine Toilolo, but he is absolutely the most improved.

Definitely not. Cheese is great.

I think both Allen Bradford and Marquis Spruill stick. I expect Bradford to get a lot of playing time. He has really impressed me throughout training camp. I think Spruill will get some experience on special teams.

Share your training camp observations and questions in the comments.