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Falcons Minicamp: Leonard Hankerson, Devonta Freeman Shine


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http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2015/6/16/8791961/falcons-minicamp-leonard-hankerson-devonta-freeman-shine

Falcons Minicamp: Leonard Hankerson, Devonta Freeman shine

By Jeanna Thomas

@jeannathomas on Jun 16, 2015, 3:00p 2 2

Before we jump into a recap of a fast and physical first day of minicamp, let's address what minicamp actually is. The team is still very limited in terms of contact and what they can do on the field. Minicamp is mandatory, so unless a guy is excused, as Devin Hester was today for personal reasons, he's expected to be there. The team works through drills, both with their position groups and as a team. This week is the last push to really install the new scheme, and the coaching staff will expect the players to have everything internalized so they can go full speed when training camp begins next month.

Roddy White was held out of today's practice. Following practice, Dan Quinn told the media that

A few things stood out in today's practice session.

The defensive backs are really playing physical, keeping their hands on receivers and playing aggressive coverage. They're drawing some penalties from the refs Dan Quinn has at each practice, which will be an important component of helping them strike the balance between playing that physical coverage and not drawing flags constantly.

Seventh rounder Phillip Adams had two nice pass break-ups against Julio Jones in the end zone in team drills. He held Jones a little on the second play, but was successful in breaking up the pass each time.

You can tell that Jalen Collins was delayed in getting on the field as the speed of the game is challenging for him at present, but he seems to be coming along as well as can be expected.

Devonta Freeman is really rising to the challenge, knowing that he's competing with rookie Tevin Coleman for snaps this season. He's going full speed on every play and continues to demonstrate that impressive vision.

Leonard Hankerson stood out to me today. He was consistently making plays, including a beauty of a sideline catch with great body control.

Ricardo Allen was getting plenty of reps at free safety with the first team and looked comfortable out there.

We had some reader questions on Twitter as well.

Rise Up Reader @RiseUpReader

@jeannathomas I’m really interested to know how the rookies are coming along. Thanks for your coverage, Jeanna!

The rookies are really adapting well. Matt Ryan mentioned Justin Hardy by name after practice as a receiver who's really working to grasp the new scheme and get himself prepared. Vic Beasley has looked fantastic, honestly. He's technically sound and there isn't a speed of the game gap for him. These fast practices are likely helping all of the rookies bridge that gap more easily. Jalen Collins has a little bit of a longer road because of the time he missed due to injury, but he's working hard to get to where he needs to be. Grady Jarrett looks really comfortable.

SportingATL.com @SportingATL

@jeannathomas what's the atmosphere difference from last season? Faster pace? New optimism?

Yeah, when you hear the media talk about the atmosphere being totally different, it's not just hype. The pace and intensity really are completely different. Not only does everything on the field move more quickly, but the coaches are really interactive with the players to keep them moving at the pace they want to see.

Toruk Makto @watersdry

@jeannathomas all I keep hearing about is the position battle between Freeman and the rook. how does antone Smith look?

Antone Smith looks fantastic. I've been really pleased to see how comfortable he looks on that leg. He looks to be 100%. I don't expect Smith to be a factor in the battle for the bulk of the carries, but I do think he'll be an important component of the Falcons' offensive approach this season, and it's great to have him back.

Hoyle W. Dabbs @HoyleWDabbs

@jeannathomas How is Worrilow looking so far this year. I know there is not much competition at MLB does he look stronger, more fit, quicker

Worrilow has always been pretty strong and not particularly quick, and I'd say he looks about the same in those two regards. I do think, however, that this simplified scheme is a great thing for him. We won't know for certain until the preseason, but I like the way he's reacting to the offense in team drills.

Jenna Bannister @JennaEarwood

@jeannathomas Who will be the biggest (pleasant) surprise?

This is a great question, and I think we have a few viable possibilities for the answer. Based on what I've seen so far, and as long as they stay healthy, I think Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki could really solidify the tight end position and be pleasant surprises. I think that whatever the outcome of the running back battle may be, fans are going to be happy with that position this season, particularly considering the lack of success in the run game over the past few seasons. I also think the defense as a whole could be a pleasant surprise. It's not hard to improve statistically over how the team performed defensively last year, but this new simplified scheme really should put them in a position to do so.

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Hankerson is an extremely talented WR. If he can stay healthy we got a heck of a deal on him. You add him with Hardy and I think both of them will be better than Douglas was. Douglas hated going over the middle and never fought for balls, seemed to miss a lot of assignments.

If our running game shines and those TEs play like they can, our offense could be balanced and lethal even in the playoffs against the better defenses.

There really are a lot of legitimate reasons to be hopeful this year. It's not just wishful thinking, this team is more talented and deeper on whole than its perhaps ever been in the Ryan years. It goes without saying we'll need some things work out such as Beasley being able to make a difference, the OlIne to be able to stay healthy and step it up and Mathews to stay healthy but pieces are there.

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Hankerson is an extremely talented WR. If he can stay healthy we got a heck of a deal on him. You add him with Hardy and I think both of them will be better than Douglas was. Douglas hated going over the middle and never fought for balls, seemed to miss a lot of assignments.

If our running game shines and those TEs play like they can, our offense could be balanced and lethal even in the playoffs against the better defenses.

I'm real excited about Hankerson.

Not so much about our TE's, although Tony M is intriguing.

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Said all along if Hankerson can stay healthy and play to the level he played when he was in college that he would turn out to be a great signing. Alot of people only know what they read about him in Washington. The man is good

The dude can make incredible acrobatic catches and goes after the ball in the air, unlike Dougals who would wait for it to get to him. You add Hardy to the mix and our WR corps is greatly improved over Douglas.

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The dude can make incredible acrobatic catches and goes after the ball in the air, unlike Dougals who would wait for it to get to him. You add Hardy to the mix and our WR corps is greatly improved over Douglas.

yep. Can't tell everyone that though man. All he has to do is stay healthy. The rest will take care of itself. I'd honestly be shocked if he is a bust of a sign in the event he's healthy all season
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The dude can make incredible acrobatic catches and goes after the ball in the air, unlike Dougals who would wait for it to get to him. You add Hardy to the mix and our WR corps is greatly improved over Douglas.

Love Roddy, but he's the one who might lose some PT to hankerson, with Hardy replacing Douglas.

Roddy's knee is a concern.....

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Worrilow has always been pretty strong and not particularly quick, and I'd say he looks about the same in those two regards. I do think, however, that this simplified scheme is a great thing for him. We won't know for certain until the preseason, but I like the way he's reacting to the offense in team drills.

Worrilow will have to raise his game to at least average. I'm pulling for him.

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yep. Can't tell everyone that though man. All he has to do is stay healthy. The rest will take care of itself. I'd honestly be shocked if he is a bust of a sign in the event he's healthy all season

I'd have to see it to believe it personally. I didn't read anything about him in Washington but did go watch some of his targets and he had a lot of easy drops.

Maybe it was the injury, don't know but I need to see it on the field in preseason or something.

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I'd have to see it to believe it personally. I didn't read anything about him in Washington but did go watch some of his targets and he had a lot of easy drops.

Maybe it was the injury, don't know but I need to see it on the field in preseason or something.

Julio and Roddy has had several easy drops as well. If that concerns you then you don't believe in those two either
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Worrilow has always been pretty strong and not particularly quick, and I'd say he looks about the same in those two regards. I do think, however, that this simplified scheme is a great thing for him. We won't know for certain until the preseason, but I like the way he's reacting to the offense in team drills.

Worrilow will have to raise his game to at least average. I'm pulling for him.

Now that he'll have 2 LB's instead of just 1 next to him, I'm sure he'll be fine...

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