Hope you’ve recovered from Independence Day. It certainly took me far longer than expected. But enough of the past: It’s another Thursday morning, which means you’ve got a fresh set of Falcoholinks to start your day.
The offseason is the perfect time to address some of the Atlanta Falcons’ burning questions, especially as the team prepares to suit up for training camp next week. The core of the defense was shattered early last season with the season-ending injuries to safeties Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal, and with the Falcons’ first game a bit under two months away, when is the earliest that will see each of them on the field?
Dovetailing from the obvious importance of both Allen and Neal, if the Falcons hope to contend once again in 2019, the defense must get better. That basically goes without saying; but if the defense is to make positive strides, what will factor into its improvement?
The Falcons already applied the franchise tag earlier in the year to star defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, but the overriding hope was that the team would be able to work out a long-term deal prior to the upcoming season, rendering the tag moot. Well, if they hope to do that, the front office brass is racing against the clock.
If the two sides are to come to an agreement on an extension for Jarrett, they will have to do so prior to next Monday, July 15 at 4:00 pm. Doing so would ostensibly provide some more immediate cap room for Thomas Dimitroff to work on the coming wave of Atlanta Falcons who are also in line for new deals.
A training camp primer
Training camp officially opens on July 22, and The Falcoholic’s Eric Robinson is out with his piece on what to watch. Rookie hype, the return of some of Atlanta’s key players, and a revamped coaching staff are some of the top headlines as the Falcons prepare to open camp at Flowery Branch.
Positional battles will of course be an important component of training camp, and one we’ll be keeping a close eye on is the fight for the third tight end spot on the roster. Ditto Russell Gage’s campaign to supplant recently re-signed wide receiver Justin Hardy for the fourth spot.
Julio not holding out
We’ve figured for some time that Julio Jones would be present at training camp, regardless of the status of his contract negotiations. He confirmed as much to TMZ, stating he would be present when the Falcons open camp on July 22.
Supplemental Draft update
The Falcons did nothing. An enduring tradition since 1984.