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2018 Atlanta Falcons training camp: News and notes from Wednesday’s final practice

What happened on Wednesday, and what does it mean for Friday?

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

Another day of training camp, another set of notes to check out. I’ll be honest and say that as encouraging as training camp has been, I’m beyond ready to see a little game action and get a better sense of position battles than we’ve been able to glean with practice alone. Even so, there’s plenty to talk about, and here a few highlights.

Saubert showing out

If not for the fact that Austin Hooper is an established starter and having a very good offseason himself, Eric Saubert would probably be the most buzzworthy veteran at training camp. He’s done nothing but vacuum up throws in his direction, showing off his athleticism in the process, and the only thing preventing him from having a bit of a breakout year as a reserve tight end is the fact that there simply won’t be that many targets for him in 2018.

Still, Saubert bears watching, and he might just have a nice night against the Jets. There may be a chance for him to step into a larger role down the line, but even if he’s just an occasionally dangerous red zone weapon in 2018, it’ll be welcome.

Hall, Hardy still front runners as returners

Since the very beginning of camp, the two names you’ve heard most often at the returner spots at Justin Hardy and Marvin Hall. Through weeks of practice, the two names we’re hearing now are...Justin Hardy and Marvin Hall. Surprise.

The Falcons might mix in Ito Smith between now and the end of the summer, and they’ll give Calvin Ridley some chances because he’s so intriguing with his speed, but the reality is that this appears to be a two man battle at the moment. It’s a question of whether the Falcons value Hardy’s physicality and sure hands more than Hall’s speed, in the end, and that question is far from settled at the moment. Just know it’s likely you’ll see one of them returning kickoffs in Week 1.

Rookies will get playing time Friday

Calvin Ridley and Isaiah Oliver will be vital players for the Falcons in 2018, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to hit the bench early against the Jets.

Dan Quinn declared his intent to get a better look at the rookies in game action, a sensible choice that keeps his veterans largely on the bench and gives this coaching staff an extended look at the dozens of young players currently on the roster. Seeing if Ridley, Oliver and say Deadrin Senat’s promising training camps translate into success in an actual game will go a long way toward determining just how ready they are to contribute.