The fifth day of training camp is over, and it was an eventful one. The players were off on Monday, and they hit the field Tuesday and focused on the red zone.
Takk McKinley was cleared to practice, but Julio Jones and Taylor Gabriel are still not participating in full team work. Dan Quinn sounded optimistic that they’d be working him in as the week progresses.
“From an injury standpoint, it was good to see some guys back,” Quinn said. “It was our first chance getting some reps for Takk McKinley. He was kind of on the plan that Adrian Clayborn did last week. He did the individual and then worked some team today.
“Then we’ll do that for this week as the guys kind of return to play. We loved the speed of the guys today and the situations that we did.”
Here’s what we learned from Day 5.
1. Takk is back.
McKinley was cleared to participate in team drills. His shoulder looks like it’s doing just fine.
Takk McKinley said he can throw his right shoulder all around now after getting green light pic.twitter.com/CueOvJeAgU— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 1, 2017
Quinn said that the time McKinley has missed hasn’t held him back.
“No issues on that front. Him and Bryant Young have done a good job together to make sure they put the work in and that was his way to show how committed he is,” Quinn said. “Although the frustration of not playing, he can still do his part from a mental standpoint. Now we have a lot of work to do to get the football side right. I have to commend him for putting the work in over the summer to get there.”
2. Plenty of cornerbacks are showing up, including C.J. Goodwin.
The Falcons have solid depth at the cornerback position, and we’ve seen Robert Alford, Damontae Kazee and C.J. Goodwin all stand out at different times with their opportunistic play. On Tuesday, it was Goodwin’s turn.
Jalen Collins seems to be farther down the depth chart than expected for the guy who started the Super Bowl in place of an injured Desmond Trufant. Collins spoke to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure about it and said that nothing happened to land him in the doghouse, though his limited reps and the players he’s taking them with are hard to ignore.
But there are a lot of guys the team has to evaluate, and plenty of guys who are flashing. So maybe that has something to do with it.
3. Duke Riley is getting first-team reps.
Keep an eye on that flowing gold mullett in the preseason, because the rookie linebacker is pushing for a starting role. It will be interesting to see how the team harnesses his speed on special teams, also.
He’s made an impression on Quinn.
“We knew he had something there all the way back in the spring with the leadership, even for a young guy, that he demonstrated,” Quinn said. “He’s totally pushing it. He’s making the mistakes that a young player should at times, but I have been encouraged by his speed and attitude. He fits right into the style of defense that we play. We’re anxious to throw him into the mix and see where we go.”
4. The right guard battle is way too close to call.
Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer are still splitting reps with the first team. This is one that we won’t really have a solid idea of the leader until probably Week 3 of the preseason or so.
Quinn said there’s no rush.
“I learned that we’re not there yet,” Quinn said. “We’ve got plenty of time to evaluate. Just when you think somebody is making a move, we’re going to take it all the way through and make sure we’re getting the pass protection looks, the blitz looks, and the matchups. Sometimes in the staff meeting, and even in the one-on-one’s, we’re trying to create matchups to see who we go against.”
Quinn also shared some insight into how they decide who gets which reps.
“The staff gets to vote each day and say ‘I want this matchup and this matchup’. We go around the table and then when we get to the one-on-one’s, we feature those ones usually as the first one or second one of the rack,” Quinn said. “Then we show them in the team meeting. The competition is everywhere and it especially shows up in those one-on-one settings.”
5. Evander Holyfield visited the Falcons at training camp on Tuesday.
It doesn’t get any realer than Real Deal Holyfield.
The Falcons will be back out there this morning for Day 6 of training camp. Follow along right here.