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What the Falcons’ rookies have been up to, where they’re going as camp begins


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https://theathletic.com/1960547/2020/07/29/what-the-falcons-rookies-have-been-up-to-where-theyre-going-as-camp-begins/?source=dailyemail

 

If you’ve been a college student within the past five years or so, or you have a college student in your home, you are likely familiar with Kahoot. If you are not familiar with the term, don’t worry; it has no foundation in any college drinking game (that I know of). What it is, however, is an online classroom of sorts that allows professors to create customized quizzes that everyone in a class can connect to for some game-based learning.

Essentially, students connect via a link to the quiz from their phones or computers. Quizzes normally are timed, and students have a few seconds to read a question and choose a multiple choice answer. The answers are compiled by the service and displayed via a bar graph depicting how many students chose each answer. It’s a simple tool used by teachers everywhere.

Some of the Falcons’ rookies may have thought their Kahoot days were behind them when they left their respective universities not too long ago, but the pandemic changed that as everything went remote, including the start of their professional football careers.

The past few months have seen the cancellation or rearrangements of important steps rookies normally take in their first few months after the NFL Draft. In 2020, there were no mini-camps, no chances for coaches to see their new crop of players play full speed. Instead, the players were on calls learning the ins and outs of their new organizations and taking Kahoot quizzes.

These video call sessions were tailored to each individual player. There was a lot of film watching, players and coaches going back and picking apart the players’ college tape. These weren’t long lectures; instead resembling 25- to 30-minute Q&A periods or film breakdowns followed by a short break and then back at it again.

In his first news conference of the training camp season, Falcons coach Dan Quinn likened these rookies’ summer experiences to what the players faced in college.

“They’ve been in a football class for a few months,” he said. “Now, here we are at the end of the semester, and now we are able to see what they can do.”

No more Kahoot quizzes. Testing season has arrived with training camp.

“We’ve done a lot of teaching,” Quinn said of the past few months. “This will be the first time moving forward that we’ll have to do some of the corrections from practice, and those are moments that you like to be in-person for so you can make some eye contact.”
Falcons' 2020 draft class

Up to this point, no rookie or coach in the league has had that luxury, which is why there is a lot of added stress to this year’s training camp period for these first-year players. There’s already a thought circling that 2020 is the year of the veterans because of everything stacked against rookies entering the league in the midst of a pandemic that has reshaped their first few months as pros. Even while acknowledging that notion, Quinn said he has been impressed with the background knowledge this group came in with, stating he really wanted to test these players to see exactly where they are entering training camp. He said mentally, they passed their first couple of days.

But the focus now shifts from what they know to what they can do.

“Now, the reaction times are the things that you haven’t had a chance to see, how quickly a player can break on a ball, how quickly they can transition and diagnose plays,” Quinn said. “It’s one thing to understand the concepts. And it’s a whole other thing to go into the format.”

Doing those evaluations through practices without having preseason games or exhibitions to lean on prior to the season starting does have its added challenges for players and coaches. Quinn said he recently went back through in his mind and asked himself: “What is the typical amount of reps a rookie might have played in the preseason through the years?”

The Falcons had been in talks to schedule joint practices with Buffalo and Miami during the 2020 preseason, but with those no longer available, Quinn said his goal was to give these rookies a similar number of reps that they would have gotten by that time. Those reps just have to be manufactured now where they would have happened organically before. And while there is stress on the coaching staff to be able to do that, there’s even more stress on the rookies to take these very limited chances and make them count.

“It’s also a stressor for the player, too, especially the player fighting for a roster spot, you know, ‘When are my moments to prove myself? To show what I can do?'” Quinn said. “So, put yourself into that spot, as well, not just us evaluating but the stress on them.

“So, we’re going to try to create some moments that are situation-specific, that will be non-scripted. We’ll do the very best we can to create a game-like situation, a scrimmage so to speak. And we’ll do as many of those leading up to the season as we can. So, that’s the first step to it — to provide moments where it’s not scripted, you don’t know the play, let’s go match up and see how we do. We’re going to try to make as many competitive moments as we can, especially for the players that need a lot of evaluations.”

Just like those Kahoot quizzes, time is ticking. While Quinn knows this window of evaluation is a lot smaller than in years past, he said he’s not going to rush through it.

“You’re not going to come in and go zero to 120 on the first day,” Quinn said. “We’re going to make sure it’s like climbing a ladder, you don’t skip the rungs as you’re going. Let’s make sure we hit the steps. We need to be at our best moving forward when the season goes, not on Monday, and there’s a lot of work that will go into that.”

 

 

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I hope this works out, but at least for some rookies, more Kahoot quizzes were probably the last things they wanted to be doing now they're out of school. But I do applaud the effort to have the rookies doing something to help acclimate them to a completely different level of competition than they've ever known up to now.

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3 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

Essentially, students connect via a link to the quiz from their phones or computers. Quizzes normally are timed, and students have a few seconds to read a question and choose a multiple choice answer.

I took a test like that a few months back as part of an application for some part time work.  

It was hard as hlll and made me realize just how long its been since I was quizzed, on anything other than my urine or blood.  

Even still, I felt I did a great job on it.  

Never even got a 'thanks but no thanks' from the company.   

Their loss. 

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