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Falcons training camp 2020 preview: Getting ready for camp in the age of COVID-19

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Here’s what you need to know.

NFL: JUL 29 Falcons Training Camp Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Training camp officially opens tomorrow, The Falcons are sitting on a ton of decisions, including how to get their rosters down to 80 men, and from there how to cut at least nine players, given that roster sizes expanded to 55 and practice squads have been expanded to 16 players. It’s a thoroughly weird year and the team is going to be admirably winging it over the next month-plus, so we’ll be patient and hope the Falcons come away with a strong team and everyone stays healthy.

Health is the big concern this year, even more so than usual, because a positive COVID-19 test not only could spread to the larger team, but it could also impact guys who are on the cusp of making the roster. The Falcons have no preseason games this year, so the limited number of training camp practices ahead of them will have outsized impacts on who makes the team and the depth chart. Every one of them is going to count.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • None of these practices will be open to the public. No sitting on the hill at Flowery Branch this year, unfortunately, and no Friday Night Lights.
  • The small number of cuts will make cutting down the roster simpler, at least on paper, but building balanced depth is going to matter a lot this year with a strong chance that anywhere from a handful to dozens of players on a given roster will contract COVID-19 and have to miss time. That huge practice squad is going to be a blessing.
  • Keep an eye out for morsels about this year’s rookie class. If A.J. Terrell, Marlon Davidson, Matt Hennessy and others are ready to play at a high level despite the significant challenges this offseason has posed, it’s going to be a huge boost for the Falcons.

Below, here’s a couple of links out to training camp battles, and we’ll add more in the days to come. Join us as we work our way through what is sure to be the weirdest training camp in recent memory.

Training camp battles to watch

Left guard

The team has five options who could credibly compete for this gig, but who wins? Will veteran experience matter a lot more this year than usual with the unusual offseason?

Cornerback

Will A.J. Terrell be the team’s top option out of the gate? Who will be the starter across from him when the team isn’t rolling out three corners? Can a young group of corners rise to the occasion in 2020?