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Falcons Training Camp 2016: defense continues to shine

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It was military appreciation day, TI was at practice, and the defense looked great.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons-Training Camp Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons’ defense looked solid in general in preseason action against Washington, with rookie linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones looking like upgrades in terms of speed and athleticism.

As a matter of fact, Dan Quinn noted the different in speed when speaking to the media following today’s practice.

“The biggest change this year, I’d have to say is the speed that we’re playing with,” Quinn said. “It’s not just being faster, but it’s also knowing your assignment so well that you’re able to go really quickly to go do it. We’re faster speed wise, but we’re also faster mentally.”

That’s been consistent throughout camp, and today’s practice was no different.

Observations on the defense

  • Paul Worrilow actually shed a couple of blocks nicely today, which is something he’s struggled with in the past. Still, his lack of closing speed is an issue. In individual drills going up against running backs, it was remarkable to see De’Vondre Campbell hang with Tevin Coleman and subsequently watch Worrilow struggle, and fail, to keep up with the slower Patrick DiMarco.
  • Campbell continued to look good, as did Jones. I’m still not fully prepared to believe how effective Campbell looks in coverage.
  • Keanu Neal returned to practice, which is excellent news. After practice, he declined to give specific information about his trunk injury, but did say he’s eager to play against the Cleveland Browns this week.
  • Desmond Trufant is so good. In individual drills, he was keeping up with Julio Jones step for step. He did get flagged for pass interference, but to be fair, Julio is almost impossible to cover. The more impressive thing is just the way he was able to keep up with Julio.
  • Vic Beasley’s really coming along.

Of note:

  • Kemal Ishmael will likely be out this week with a shoulder strain.
  • After practice, Dan Quinn mentioned again that Dwight Freeney has progressed in the scheme to the point that he should be ready to hit the field against the Cleveland Browns.
  • Today was military appreciation day, and paratroopers brought in the practice ball. It was pretty awesome.
  • TI was at practice. What you know about that? I know all about that.