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Storylines to monitor as we follow Atlanta’s 2018 offseason workouts

The Falcons hit the weights this week. What should you pay attention to?

Wild Card Round - Atlanta Falcons v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

So, the Atlanta Falcons are about to get their first official workouts of the 2018 season in this week, so we’ll get a glimpse at our favorite Dirty Birds, in shorts, doing exercises.

They officially start this week, but technically, they’re voluntary, and, as the team notes, no one has to officially show up until June’s mandatory mini-camp. But, as the team also notes, the Falcons have had full participation ever since Dan Quinn took over. Yay!

So, while, uh, there’s not all that much to really dig into, what storylines should we look to follow out of these inaugural 2018 workout sessions?

Any Clipped Wings?

It’s great that we’ll get a fully-healthy Julio Jones going this offseason, but what Falcons could get a slow start to the season because of that pesky injury bug?

Well, look no further than starting running back Devonta Freeman, who ended the season with MCL and PCL sprains in his knee, and struggled with two concussions throughout 2017. He had a good year, regardless, and thankfully avoided surgery, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Freeman opt not to get in on these early workouts and stick with his rehabilitation process. For the slim few who think the Falcons will trade Tevin Coleman over draft weekend, consider Freeman’s health, and also, that, uh, there’s no way on Earth that will happen. Even if Coleman leaves in 2019, the team will get a big, fat comp pick for their troubles.

Left guard Andy Levitre is also healing from a torn tricep, so he’s also likely underway with his rehab now, and is another Falcon who likely isn’t quite ready to take on a full load of workouts. But, both guys might at least be present at Flowery Branch to get some rehab in and be with the team.

Falcons DE Takk McKinley and WR Justin Hardy both underwent offseason surgeries (Takk for a shoulder, Hardy also for a shoulder) and their statuses are unknown. They could either be ready to hit the weights, or could need more time for rehab of their own.

Other than that, most everyone should be healthy and ready to get going.

Contract on Ice?

We’ve heard from Matt Ryan and other big Falcons names as of late about 2’s deal, which will get done here within the next few months. We just don’t know when, or for how much. The team’s probably going to open up the locker room for media availability, so we’ll likely get another pulse check on how things are progressing.

For all we know, they might close the deal this week, or we could be waiting until training camp for Ryan to sign. The real nightmare would be for Ryan to hold out from coming to camp until the deal is done, but that feels rather unlikely. This one’s going to be taken care of in due time. We’ll probably get an update this week of where it stands.

New Birds on the Block

Though the team was quieter in this free agency cycle than they ever have been, we’ve got three new Falcons that we’ll get a glimpse at this week. New right guard Brandon Fusco, new cornerback Justin Bethel and new tight end Logan Paulsen will no doubt be ready to get to work and get to know their new teammates, and we’ll likely get some media coverage on their first reps with the team.

So, that’s about it for things to be looking for. This is what it sounds like — grown men working out and saying hey to each other after a few months apart — so the story pool is a bit shallow. Nevertheless! There are things to keep an eye on, and these are...them.

Sit tight, Falcons fans. Draft weekend will be here sooner than you know it.