Falcons football is back, baby! Training camp kicked off at the Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch, Ga. on Monday, and we couldn’t be happier.
The first day typically doesn’t blow anybody out of the water. Everybody is knocking off the rust. But there were still some standout moments, and Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones spent some time after practice talking about their new deals and what it’s like having Quinn take over as the team’s defensive coordinator.
Here’s everything you need to know about what went down on Day 1.
Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen are back
No drills on Day 1 of training camp were full speed, but neither Neal nor Allen looked like they were hindered or slowed down in any way, which is encouraging. As a matter of fact, while neither Allen nor Neal broke any of the NFL’s rules regarding contact, they did seem to put a little extra sauce on a couple of finishes during drills.
Grady Jarrett was glad to see those guys, and Deion Jones, out there together today.
“Seeing 22, 37, 45, having the guys back out there all together, man, is just awesome,” Jarrett said. “And as we continue to progress and just work day in and day out to try to maximize our potential, I think there’s a lot out there for us.”
Deion Jones and Julio Jones aren’t quite at full speed
Deion Jones did return to the field last year after being activated off of IR, but he wasn’t 100 percent. Deion and Julio spent time working through drills on the sideline, which was purely precautionary.
Deion told reporters after practice that he’s feeling good, and he’s just taking it one day at a time.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “It’s just a matter of easing back into full speed — game speed. Other than that, everything’s good.”
Grady Jarrett is more motivated after his new deal
Sure, some people might want to just relax after securing a big payday. But Grady Jarrett isn’t one of them.
“To be able to put that ink to that paper and get a deal done, it was gratifying in the sense that I know I put in a lot of work. I came a long way,” Jarrett said. “But it also was motivating. I was motivated in a way that there’s still a lot out there for me. And in that sense, going from — you may not have that much, you want some money, so you’re motivated. I just got a little money, I feel like, shoot, I’m more motivated.”
Jarrett, a fifth-round pick in 2014 who has far outplayed his draft status on a consistent basis, said that chip on his shoulder didn’t disappear when he signed his new deal.
“Oh, man, it’s bigger than ever,” Jarrett said.
Chris Lindstrom is running with the first-team offense
This is not terribly surprising. Lindstrom got plenty of work with the first team during OTAs, and after being selected at No. 14 by the Falcons in the 2019 draft, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t start this year. But Quinn is still in wait-and-see mode.
“It’s definitely an indicator of where we see him starting right now,” Quinn said after practice. “He’d earned a lot of that through spring with (how) he performed. He still has some work as we are going through.”
Michael Bennett and J.J. Wilcox got injured
Backup safety J.J. Wilcox was injured during drills. He was unable to put much weight on it immediately after the injury, and he had to be helped from the field by Damontae Kazee and Neal. Quinn said after practice that he would not have an update on Wilson’s status until Tuesday.
Defensive lineman Michael Bennett (the former Buckeye) also left practice with an injury. Ian Rapoport later confirmed it’s a broken ankle for Bennett.
What does Grady Jarrett expect from new DC Dan Quinn?
Dan Quinn will take over the defensive play calling duties this season, but it shoudn’t be a huge difference for the defense.
“Since I’ve been here, Q is a defensive minded guy, so he has always been really intimate with us and given us lots of time,” Jarrett said. “With him being the play caller now, there’s definitely some more of his voice going and commanding certain things. So I think it’s exciting.”
No, seriously. Quinn has always spent plenty of time with the defense.
“I always wondered sometimes, you gonna check on the offense, man? So he’s always been with us, man. It’s not much of a difference,” Jarrett said.
We’ll be back with updates from Day 2 on Wednesday morning.