Monday saw the Falcons getting down to business as usual. The team has officially broken camp, and while they’re still in the install phase, they’re getting into a schedule that looks a bit more like what they’ll be doing during the regular season.
A key difference is that the team typically plays games on Sundays during the season, and this week’s preseason tilt against the Jets at home falls on a Thursday. Monday’s practice saw the team inching toward readiness for that matchup. Here’s everything you need to know out of Flowery Branch from Monday.
Notes - Monday, Aug. 12
- Since camp is officially over, only the first 30 minutes of practice are open to reporters. Dan Quinn also addressed the media prior to practice today, so we were unable to get injury updates on any of the guys who’ve been battling lingering injuries.
- Speaking of, Julio Jones, Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun, and James Carpenter all worked with trainers off to the side during the open portion of practice.
- Mohamed Sanu was held out of Sunday’s practice for some knee soreness, but he was back out there on Monday. Calvin Ridley also returned to practice on Monday after working through a hamstring injury.
- Honestly, except for injury updates, we’re probably not going to have a ton to share in the Notes portion of this breakdown on a day-to-day basis. Very little happens in practice over the course of those first 30 minutes, and since that’s all we’re allowed to observe, it limits the notes we have to report.
Quotes - Monday, Aug. 12
- On where the team is focusing right now: As we’re getting through with the team today, we had kind of started our last block of installs. We carry about nine of them, generally, to go through the preseason. We did those in the nine OTAs, and then now here in training camp, it’s the second lap through a lot of those. We’re going to continue to push on the situations, whether it’s at practice, in the walkthroughs, all the way there. To have the end of that space is good because we’ve thrown a lot at the guys and I want to make sure the focus comes right back to the detail. When can we shorten the playbook up? ‘Not yet,’ would be my answer, but it will be there eventually.
- On cleaning up the penalties: One of the issues coming out of the two games was the amount of fouls that we had. So many of those being pre-snap, we’re going to work like crazy to get those corrected and we’ve got all sorts of opportunities. We’re kind of at the midway point of the preseason for us with five games, and here’s our third one coming up. That’s kind of where we sit on a lot of things.
- On the decision to trade TE Eric Saubert to the Patriots: Certainly, wish him well, and he’s certainly someone who is regarded around here as a great teammate from me and from others. At the end of it, we always know it comes down to the battles at different roster spots and different places. That’s what this time of year is about, finding ways to address things on the team that you can do.
- On the TE depth on the roster: At some spots, there’s a little more depth than others and we wanted to wish [Eric] Saub well. He’s got a good opportunity with them, and he certainly did a good job working for us here. In the end, we’re certainly not, we’re defined at certain spots that’s not one of them that we say, ‘Okay, the 53 is set at tight end,’ or any of those things. The competition for us is ongoing, but we like the progress that we’ve seen from a number of guys.”
- On the WR depth on the roster: “It’s definitely what you want, where you have difficult decisions. When you’re in that space, that means you’ve done a good job of either developing some players who were on the way up or adding playing into the mix. The receiver is one of those spots, whereas you’re looking at roster spots five, six, seven, and who has the developmental experience to push through, that’s a big deal. That’s why these next three weeks for a number of these guys, to show what you can do in those moments, it’s a big thing. We do like the depth that we have. We’ve got some speed at some different spots. What can they do on teams? Who has return ability? Those are some of the things that factor into those last few spots on the 53.
- On the punt return battle: “I would say a long way to go is where I feel like we’re at. It’ll be good to get Marcus [Green] hopefully back into that role this weekend. We’ll take another look at him. We didn’t get a chance last week to get a lot of returns. I think there were three punt returns and we were only able to field one of them. It wasn’t a great night for fielding punts and getting a chance to see what that would look like. We definitely have a lot of work to do with that one.”
- On whether he has any kind of helmet grievance: “No, I didn’t look for a new helmet. It fits. I wear a medium-large, and I just go play. That’s all.”
- On how it feels to be working his way back to full speed: “It feels great, just being back out there running around, running routes. It’s football. I’ve been doing it for so long, so I just love to be back out there and just running around, catching balls and having fun.”
- On Olamide Zaccheaus: “Every week, week in and week out, he’s been doing a great job for us. Everybody’s been watching him, and he’s not disappointing … in the league, it’s all about consistency, how well you can do that. And he’s been doing a great job.”
- On how PI reviews may impact his game: “I can’t worry about that. I’ve just got to go out there and play football. These are judgment calls, whatever happens, happens, and we’ve just got to go out there and play ball.”