Dan Quinn addressed the media prior to Thursday’s practice, and the biggest news he shared was that rookie linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones will start in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quinn also confirmed that the starting right guard in Week 1 will be, once again, Chris Chester.
Campbell and Jones looked generally quite good this preseason and throughout training camp. There were some rookie lapses here and there, but overall, these two players seemed prepared, and their speed and athleticism is an obvious upgrade over the other players on the roster who could fill these roles.
Chester wasn’t great last season, but neither was the interior line as a whole. Mike Person was a liability at center, and the addition of Alex Mack should stabilize things. Should Chester flounder at right guard, the team certainly can consider plugging in Person or rookie Wes Schweitzer in his place.
Quinn also said that Adrian Clayborn (shoulder), Dwight Freeney (back) and Kemal Ishmael (shoulder) were healthy enough to practice fully on Monday. Terron Ward (ankle) and Julio Jones (ankle) were both limited on Monday, but Quinn expected both to return to full participation Wednesday. Overall, the team seems to be in pretty good shape heading into this week’s matchup with the Buccaneers.
Speaking of, Quinn is characteristically pumped about this week’s game.
DQ says getting a division game Week 1 is "the best." Looking forward to Dome "rockin'."— Jeanna (@jeannathomas) September 5, 2016
Prior to heading in for open locker room, the media was instructed that players have a new dedication to respecting the team and the Falcons logo in the middle of the locker room. We were notified that if we stand on that logo, we’ll likely be asked to move by players.
I’ve always avoided standing on the logo, so that’s not an issue for me. I do, however, like the team-first mentality Quinn and his staff are trying to build, and I appreciate seeing players buying into that.
There’s no practice tomorrow, but I will be answering your Falcons questions on Facebook Live around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, so pencil that in and plan to join us.