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Biggest Storylines before Camp


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Biggest Falcons storylines as training camp approaches

 
 
Falcons Jones

Training camp is approaching for the Falcons as rookies report on July 19 and veterans on July 26. The first practice at Flowery Branch will be on July 27. This has been quite the eventful offseason for the organization — extending Jake Matthews and Grady Jarrett, trading away Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley‘s suspension, and drafting a potential franchise quarterback in Desmond Ridder. Here are the biggest storylines surrounding the team as training camp approaches.

Quarterback Competition

The Falcons are headed for a training camp battle between Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder. The veteran certainly has to be the favorite, given the experience he has within Arthur Smith’s offense and against NFL defenses. However, reports coming out of camp suggest Ridder shouldn’t be written off. Smith has stated he’s not having typical rookie struggles; Charles London also added how players, even veterans, are gravitating toward the Cinncianti product’s leadership. My money would be on Mariota, outside of injuries, but Ridder is going to make it interesting.

Deion Jones Status

The former LSU Tiger has experienced quite a fall from grace. Once considered one of the premier players at his position, Jones continues to mail in forgettable seasons. There was mass speculation earlier this offseason about the Falcons trading or cutting him, but a shoulder surgery has halted those conversations. The salary relief from a trade is attractive, while releasing Jones doesn’t offer much. It’ll be intriguing to see how the Falcons approach his status as training camp commences.

Avery Williams Position Change

This is one of the more exciting stories surrounding the Falcons in years. Drafted as a special teams ace, Williams quickly established himself as a key cog in the team’s third phase. He was electric with the ball in his hands, fielding punts and kickoffs, but he wasn’t exactly inspiring when he played sparingly on defense. The change from corner to running back should be beneficial to Williams, who possesses a similar skillset as Darren Sproles. Arthur Smith has proved to be creative with his usage of skill players, so the former Boise State Bronco could have an expanded role in the offense this season.

Left Guard Competition

I’m actually excited to see Jalen Mayfield in 2022. He was objectively one of the worst offensive linemen in football last season, and the team did little to upgrade. They drafted Justin Shaffer and signed Germain Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson to compete at left guard, so there is some semblance of competition. I’m eager to see how Mayfield’s development is progressing because if it’s marginal, it’ll be a massive stain on Terry Fontenot’s resume

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I'm excited about the QB battle and to see how Avery does but the LG competition needs to end with a legit starter whether that's Mayfield or someone else. We can't have a dumpster at LG again this year especially when in all likelihood Ridder will get some playing time at some point and I don't want to expose him to dlinemen on him within 2 seconds frequently.

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17 hours ago, A Dog Named Brian said:

I have a feeling Ridder is going to make it difficult to name Mariotta the week 1 starter 

IDK. Coach Smith has praised him on the mental aspects (What did he say, "above the neck"?)

.But I haven't really heard Coach say a lot about what's going on with his play yet

But we'll soon find out

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18 hours ago, A Dog Named Brian said:

I have a feeling Ridder is going to make it difficult to name Mariotta the week 1 starter 

I have to disagree... I think there are going to be a  lot of disappointed people here... I think its been  totally overblown about what Smith said about Ridder being way ahead MENTALLY... I know the kid is all excited and trying to show leadership qualities already..and that is cool, i like that, but I think once the pads come on, and **** gets real, its going to be a reality check.... With Franks working at TE, I still think we bring in a Vet QB because Mariota is not the most injury free QB, and I'm pretty sure they will not want to throw Ridder into the fire, especially if the line is suspect... I think everyone needs to pump the brakes on Ridder vying for the starter job... Then of course..i'm no expert....

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2 hours ago, Vandy said:

TAFT overrating Ridder, underrating Mariotta. 
 

 

I think Mariotta is borderline fools gold, if something was gonna happen with him it would’ve happened by now. There’s a reason he is on his third team since being drafted. He’ll be a good stop gap for sure, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Ridder unseats him early in the season. 

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3 hours ago, Fernando C. said:

Center position? soy Henny is our guy???

I am personally more concerned about C than LG. Mayfield at least improved in the run game towards the end of the season. I was still seeing Hennessy getting tossed all over the place at the end of the season. I like what Dalman has to offer to this team more. He seems to have a bit more grit and meanness in him that I love in a C.

Edited by ATLskinjob
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39 minutes ago, A Dog Named Brian said:

I think Mariotta is borderline fools gold, if something was gonna happen with him it would’ve happened by now. There’s a reason he is on his third team since being drafted. He’ll be a good stop gap for sure, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Ridder unseats him early in the season. 

Hmmm…and what’s the reason Ridder wasn’t taken until 3rd round?

Oakland has Derek carr entrenched at QB. MM’s issues have been injuries, not ability. 

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10 minutes ago, ShmevinShmarris said:

For me it’s that Walker isn’t being talked about.. Guy is going to have a breakout year

Walker has had a ton of intriguing flashes, but that ILB room is pretty crowded right now. As I see it, he's still gotta beat out Deion Jones and Rashaan Evans. 

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The QB competition isn't for this season in my opinion, it's about is Ridder our QB in 2023?  If he isn't his competition will be a top 5 pick in next year's draft.  If it is, that would be the best case scenario!

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1 hour ago, Vandy said:

Hmmm…and what’s the reason Ridder wasn’t taken until 3rd round?

Oakland has Derek carr entrenched at QB. MM’s issues have been injuries, not ability. 

This isn’t me saying Ridder is a world beater but I do think his ceiling is higher than Marcus. 
 

Insofar as draft position I could make the argument about the Russel Wilson’s of the world and the like, but I’m not gonna. The draft is a giant crapshoot and everyone knows it. I just see Marcus for what he is, a stopgap until the next QB is found, he’s a career backup at this point. 

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