Training camp (finally) opened on Monday, and we’ve got all of the headlines from the first three practices in Thursday’s edition of Falcoholinks.
J.J. Wilcox and Michael Bennett go down
Camp opened with that familiar excitement that football is back, but also the ominous sense that the injury bug still has a taste for the Atlanta Falcons.
Free agent addition J.J. Wilcox, expected to be one of the primary backups at safety, went down during the Falcons’ first practice with what turned out to be a torn ACL. He’s lost for the season.
Defensive tackle Michael Bennett was also injured in Atlanta’s initial practice, breaking an ankle that will require surgery. Bennett will be away from football activities for some time, but his season outlook isn’t as bleak as Wilcox’s: Coach Dan Quinn said that there’s a shot that Bennett returns during the season at some point.
It was a rough start to day one.
Allen Bailey inked to two-year deal
Atlanta moved swiftly after Michael Bennett’s injury, signing offseason target Allen Bailey to a two-year deal. Bailey is a welcome addition along the defensive line, irrespective of the injuries to both Bennett and Steven Means. A young, versatile defender, Bailey tallied six sacks and four fumble recoveries in his final season in Kansas City.
Bailey brings experience, power, and the ability to play in multiple spots along the line. It’s a very good signing this close to the start of the season.
Julio heading to the bank?
The Julio Jones contract saga has now stretched into two training camps, and while we’re all highly optimistic that he’ll receive a new deal soon, could it be as early as this weekend?
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk has reported that the Falcons may already have a deal in place, but due to some arcane contractual language, can’t officially sign until after the one-year anniversary of his previously revised contract. That date? July, 27, 2018.
ESPN’s Vaughn McClure tosses some cold water on that notion, reporting that GM Thomas Dimitroff remains optimistic, but talks with Julio’s agent are ongoing.
Julio, for his part, offered this tongue-in-cheek response to that direct question:
Julio says “who are some people?” when asked about theories that some people have that he’s already signed a contract and just can’t make it public yet lol— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) July 24, 2019
We’ll see what happens, but it could be an exciting weekend in Falconland.
Achilles injuries are famously finicky, with recovery timelines varying depending on the individual on the mend. For that reason we’ve been cautious about projecting Ricardo Allen’s role when the season opens, but we received a positive sign on Monday: Allen was present and practicing — helmet on.
We can’t put too much weight into this, but it’s an incredibly encouraging sign.