The Falcons are deep into preparation for the Week 1 matchup against the Vikings, and Wednesday’s practice was “Competition Wednesday,” per Dan Quinn, and the focus for players is on getting each other ready to go on Sunday.
“We do some periods at practice, first offense versus first defense, all the way through, so it’s a big piece for us,” Quinn said.
Here’s everything you need to know from Wednesday’s practice.
- T Matt Gono, back injury, limited participation
- WR Stefon Diggs, hamstring injury, did not participate
- CB Mike Hughes, knee injury, limited participation
- CB Mackensie Alexander, hamstring injury, full participation
- LB Kentrell Brothers, wrist injury, full participation
- DE Eversen Griffen, elbow injury, full participation
- T Brian O’Neill, elbow injury, full participation
- DT Linval Joseph, shoulder injury, full participation
- Julio Jones was at practice. Dan Quinn did tell reporters prior to practice that there was nothing to celebrate just yet about Jones’ impending new deal, but it hasn’t caused Julio to sit out as the team prepares for the Vikings.
- Dan Quinn hasn’t established who will start at right tackle or left guard just yet, but this was the arrangement on Wednesday:
#Falcons have Matt Gono at RT and James Carpenter on LG are working with the first team.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) September 4, 2019
- We spoke to Kaleb McGary after practice, and he has not been given any indication whether or not he will start on Sunday or if he’ll see any playing time. With both the RT and LG spots, Quinn did admit there was a bit of gamesmanship involved in holding off on naming the starters.
- For right now, Matt Bryant will be kicking in practice on Wednesdays and Fridays, per Quinn. Later in the season, he may drop down to one day per week.
Head coach Dan Quinn:
- On Hurricane Dorian: “One last thing, just bigger than football: We want to send our thoughts out to anybody that’s been affected by Hurricane Dorian.”
- On Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen’s rehab: “What I saw from them first off, coming back, was their willingness — they were just working their asses off to get back. And that part you felt. You sensed it. And then they wanted their reps in the preseason game. You remember, I told you there was the game down in Miami, Keanu thought he was playing. I said, ‘Hey, man, I’m gonna hold you to next week,” and I got the death stare, like, ‘I’m literally gonna rip your face off,” so you could tell how important it was to him to get ready and get back playing.”
- On why the team has been so focused on defensive communication: “Early on in training camp, we talked about communication and the ability to play good team defense, even when you’re playing man-to-man, talking about leverage and plays that could come up. And the best defenses at the line of scrimmage are making a lot of calls and making a lot of talking … so we’ve worked really hard at that space almost for the players where they get tired of, ‘Okay, you’re mic’d up today,’ and we want to hear their communication at practice. And so I’ve done that a good bit this training camp, again, to force the issue of the communication. It’s another way of saying you’ve got your teammates back.”
Passing defense coordinator Jerome Henderson:
On the defensive weakness in 2018: “I know the big point that Dan made to us is he didn’t think the defense looked physical last year — didn’t think that we looked like a defense that was going to knock people back and be in people’s faces and wasn’t what he wanted and what he expects. And our challenge this offseason has been to bring physicalness back to our defense, more in your face back to our defense, and an attitude with our defense.”
QB Matt Ryan:
On getting ready for Sunday: “I feel good. I feel good about our preseason, the work that we’ve put in. It feels good to get into our normal routine in terms of our preparation, getting ready for a game. I thought today’s meetings and practice were a solid start for us. We’ve got a lot more work to do the rest of the week, but it was a good start to the week, and I think we’re all excited that the regular season is finally here.”
On the young offensive linemen and facing the Vikings on the road: “Well, I’ll tell them, it doesn’t matter where you’re playing. In the NFL, it’s tough every week. And so they’re prepared — all those guys have had a nice preseason for us. They’ve done all you can expect for young guys to do. They’ve worked extremely hard, they’ve practiced well, they’re not making the same mistakes over and over. We love to see that from those guys. But it’ll be fun for them. That’s moreso what I stress to them is, just relax. Trust your training, and go out there and play the way that you’ve played your entire life., It’s gotten you to this point. You’re talented enough and prepared enough to go out there and play really well.”