Falcons mandatory minicamp kicked off yesterday, and seeing photos and seeing reports from practice was a nice reprieve from the onslaught of Julio Jones news and arguments. It’s not training camp and it’s not the season—it’s basically OTAs with mandated attendance—but if you’re champing at the bit for Falcons football again this helps scratch the itch.
As I noted yesterday and Scott Bair with the Falcons reiterated in his worthwhile recap of the proceedings last night, there are worthwhile observations but nothing earth-shattering to be learned from these three days. All that said, here’s a few interesting items we learned from reporters at the first day of minicamp.
Atlanta will practice with the Dolphins this summer
Given that the two teams play in preseason, it’s a fair bet they’ll do so before their game. The Falcons were hoping to put together joint practices with the Bills or Dolphins last year before the pandemic wiped out those plans entirely, and practicing against a talented team like Miami with a good defensive head coach figures to be worthwhile.
Five tryout players in attendance
We covered off on this yesterday, but in case you missed it, the Falcons invited five veterans to try out. That list includes former Ravens receiver Jaleel Scott, a tall and quick player still looking for his first extended shot at playing time, and former Titans linebacker Sharif Finch, who spent two seasons with Dean Pees in Tennessee.
The Falcons will have an open roster spot as soon as the Julio trade goes through, so it would not be surprising to see one of these guys signed if they impress. If connections and history matter, it may well be Finch.
Frank Darby already enjoying impressive moments
A few things to consider with Darby: If the Falcons have been quietly trying to shop Julio Jones for months, they were well aware of the impending need on the depth chart. The fact that they didn’t go out and get anyone early on in the draft—and have only added veteran Tajae Sharpe for experienced options thus far—suggests that they’re going to give Darby a shot at winning a significant reserve role.
It’s rare a sixth round rookie steps right in and excels, so it’s best to temper your expectations for Darby even if he winds up being, say, the #4 receiver and a player who finds his way into 10-20 snaps per game. That said, he’s out there making a nice catch on a Matt Ryan pass on the first day of minicamp, and the team’s relative lack of proven depth options means he should be in the mix for a role all summer.
Chris Lindstrom would move, but likely won’t be asked to
Lindstrom was a player many of us expected to push for the left guard job his rookie season, but he settled in at right guard and has been there since. Given his excellence there to this point and the fact that the Falcons have talked about Jalen Mayfield and others competing at left guard in 2021, chances are Lindstrom will continue to make right guard his home.
If Dwayne Ledford decides the best permutation of he line is one with Lindstrom switching sides, though, Lindstrom is game. File this away just in case it becomes relevant.
Deion Jones misses first day with a family issue
Arthur Smith said Deion Jones has been excused from minicamp due to a family issue.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) June 8, 2021
Bair’s writeup notes that there were no surprise absences for minicamp. Debo’s going to be one of the most important players on this defense again in 2021, and missing a day or two of minicamp isn’t going to impact that at all. We hope everything’s okay with his family.