It was a hot one in Flowery Branch today, and the Falcons were sweating it out in full pads for their second day of scrimmaging. The team essentially simulated a full game over Sunday and Monday.
Tomorrow the team will focus on preparing more specifically for the Broncos in advance of the Hall of Fame matchup on Thursday. Wednesday they’ll travel, and Thursday they’ll take the field for the first somewhat real game of the 2019 NFL season.
Here’s what you need to know from Monday’s practice.
Day 7 notes
- Russell Gage once again got his fair share of targets with the first team.
- Kenjon Barner got some first-team reps and made the most of them, breaking a few ankles along the way on one run.
- The defense clearly came out on top on Monday, winning the two-day scrimmage 23-15. The defense came into Monday with a lead, and they made the offense work for every point and forced plenty of punts.
- Even though the offense didn’t come out on top, they did get opportunities to work through a lot of situations, like two-point attempts.
- Giorgio Tavecchio will be taking over kickoff duties.
- Rookie Jaelin Robinson, an undrafted free agent out of Temple, got some work with the first-team today.
- Wes Schweitzer has gotten some second team reps at center but it was primarily Chandler Miller, the undrafted free agent out of Tulsa, getting those reps on Monday.
- Dan Quinn said he’s been impressed with the rookie cornerbacks. Here’s part of the reason that’s the case for Kendall Sheffield.
- Calvin Ridley was back in pads and a helmet, but spent most of practice working with trainers off to the side.
- It was a pretty good crowd for a Monday. The Falcons had staff stationed near the foot of the hill to encourage fans to get loud on third downs, just like we’d all like to see happen in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
- There’s still no news on Julio Jones’ new deal.
Day 7 quotes
On the scrimmage on Sunday and Monday: “We hit an entire third quarter, fourth quarter, end of the game moments that came up. So over two days, we basically split a game in all ways that you could. We tried to mix in versatility for all players in a lot of spots. Defensively, mix in between some 3-4 principles, some 4-3, where it’s nice to have that versatility when you need it for stand up outside guys, four down guys, and it’s important for us to have the ability to go in and out of some of those looks. I thought it was good offensively, we had some more examples — there was a two-minute to work down, two-point plays. So all those were a big factor for us.”
On the plan going forward: “We’re still in camp mode, taking a couple day break to go play, and we’ll come back, we’re going back into a camp mentality, another set of installs, another set of things to work on. So a long way to go, but we made a lot of progress in seven practice days … if we keep getting better and getting closer, those things will play a hell of a lot better together.”
On working on multiple defensive looks now: “Big nickel guys, big safeties — two-safety packages to match up. We’ve got corner guys, so sometimes you’ll see four corners out there — three defensive ends as a package at a time. You’ll see — could be some three or four linebackers the way they can run. So little packages — not tons, but little ones that could have an impact. This time of year, you plan big — what are you going to do against this scenario? Against this one? And then now you have it all in, and then you can bring in what you need for that game plan as opposed to putting it in the week of the game.”
On the defensive performance during the two-day scrimmage: “I thought it was kind of hit or miss for pass rush. I thought I saw some good — (Allen) Bailey, (Grady) Jarrett, (Vic) Beasley had some. Man, (Takk) McKinley got felt more today. On the other side, I thought (Jack) Crawford was one that felt some. In the secondary, obviously making two big takeaways yesterday, when that doesn’t happen, obviously that’s one of the reasons their team was so ahead. So the takeaways, creating turnovers, being a ball hawk — I didn’t feel the same ballhawking intensity that I saw yesterday from the red team. So creating takeaways, why were they ahead 23-7 at the half? That was a big part of it — good takeaways, good pass rush. So it wasn’t at the same level today in terms of the takeaways, so those are the good ones to learn from.”
On the RB depth chart being far from settled: “Today I would say it would be a different kind of shared role, because although I’m not discouraged by any of them at all, I’m more encouraged, where there hasn’t been a separation.”
On the adjustments the offense is making: “A lot of install at this point, working through a lot of different things, figuring out how guys are going to fit into what we’re doing — we have some new pieces. I think the coaching staff has done a good job with that. As players, our focus is to just go out there and not make the same mistake twice as we’re installing things. If you mess up, that’s fine, but we’ve got to correct it and be better for it, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that the first couple of days of camp.”
On Thursday being an opportunity for young players: “Yeah, for sure, especially when you have the additional preseason game like we have this year. It’s a really good opportunity for our young guys to get out there with the lights on and showcase what they can do. So I’m looking forward to watching those guys play on this coming Thursday night and seeing their hard work come to fruition out there on the field.”
On where the team is after seven days of training camp: “I think we’re in a good spot. We’ve had a lot of install so far, putting a lot of different things in, trying to work on a bunch of different things that we’ll use throughout the course of the year. I think it’s a really good chance to see how young players can take things from the meeting room out onto the practice field. Overall, I think we’ve done a nice job — guys have worked really hard. We’ve got a long way to go, though.”
The team will be back on the field for Day 8 Tuesday morning, and then they’re headed to Canton. We’ll have analysis of Tuesday’s practice and all of the Hall of Fame Game content you need right here on The Falcoholic.