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Falcons Training Camp Notebook: Day 8


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Falcons Training Camp Notebook: QBs Struggle, O-Line Battle Heats Up

The one-stop shop for Falcons training camp observations, notes and news all throughout the preseason.
  • 2 HOURS AGO
  • The Atlanta Falcons hit the field today for the fourth time during training camp's second week.

    The Falcons enter 2022 looking to improve on a 7-10 record from last season, the first of the new regime headlined by coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot.

    With training camp well underway, the Falcons face several questions, but have six weeks to find the solutions.

    Here's everything of note from the eighth day of camp ...

    QUARTERBACKS HAVE ROUGH DAY

    While Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder both posted respectable numbers in the team portion of Friday's practice, neither quarterback performed at the level Atlanta needed them to.

    ESPN's Michael Rothstein charted the passers with Mariota at 11 of 19 and Ridder going 10 of 17. However, Smith has been stressing that the efficiency doesn't matter if it stems from checkdowns rather than shot plays, and neither signal caller was particularly effective in the intermediate to deep portions of the field.

    Mariota and Ridder have had solid starts to camp all things considered, but Friday's session may have been their worst collective effort of camp.

    SECONDARY CONTINUES TO SHINE

    Making the lives of the two quarterbacks all the more difficult is Atlanta's standout secondary. The unit was viewed as the strongest on the Falcons' team entering camp and has fully lived up to expectations thus far.

    With the offense throwing receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts at the defensive backs on Friday's first two reps in the 1-on-1 period, the group didn't flinch, as star cornerback A.J. Terrell and blossoming third-year safety Jaylinn Hawkins broke up passes.

    Pitts made the catch of the day over corner Teez Tabor, but the veteran defensive back couldn't have done much more. Atlanta has seen several players break out on the back end, including second-year players Darren Hall and Richie Grant.

    Most of the Falcons' defensive backs look the same: quick-footed, anticipatory and sticky. Additionally, the group has made some phenomenal plays on the ball throughout camp. It's been some time since the secondary was a major positive for the Falcons, but that looks poised to end this year.

    OFFENSIVE LINE COMPETITION CONTINUES

    For the first time all camp, the Falcons started the same five up front for consecutive days, as Elijah Wilkinson held the left guard spot and Drew Dalman earned the start at center. Dalman and Matt Hennessy had alternated each day of camp to this point.

    Jalen Mayfield missed Friday's practice with a lower back issue that Smith said shouldn't be serious. In his place, Colby Gossett moved over from right guard, with Jonotthan Harrison sliding up to play second-team right guard.

    After starting with the first team on day one, Mayfield's had a rough go in camp, losing his 1-on-1 matchups and now missing crucial snaps with the preseason looming. For him to regain his starting spot from last season, the second-year pro from Michigan needs to come back from his injury and immediately hit the accelerator.

    Among notable reps in the 1-on-1's, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett beat right guard Chris Lindstrom, with the two trading wins throughout the opening week in pads.

    From a team perspective, the defense had the stronger day in large part due to the secondary.

    The Falcons will hold their final practice of the week Saturday before an off-day Sunday. When the team arrives to practice on Monday, they'll be staring down the first week of the preseason.

    https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/atlanta-training-camp-notebook-quarterbacks-offensive-line-competition-desmond-ridder-marcus-mariota?src=rss

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Eh I'm not concerned about the QBs. Sounds like they were trying new things and doing a lot of deep and intermediate passes. Smith is trying to push them.

And I'm glad to see the OL taking shape. I've been pulling for Mayfield and Dalman to win their position battles, but it looks like Mayfield isn't ready yet. I do think that Dalman is going to be a nice upgrade to Hennessy though.

I'm really excited to see what this defense looks like. There's been a whole lot of hype about the secondary, and I want to see if they're actually good. The thing is that I really can see this unit doing well.

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We have the makings of a very good secondary if our young safeties can play well. 

Add in all the young edge rushers, great talent at ILB and Grady Jarrett as the sprinkle on top and I can see this defense making some noise this year.

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13 hours ago, ATLskinjob said:

Eh I'm not concerned about the QBs. Sounds like they were trying new things and doing a lot of deep and intermediate passes. Smith is trying to push them.

And I'm glad to see the OL taking shape. I've been pulling for Mayfield and Dalman to win their position battles, but it looks like Mayfield isn't ready yet. I do think that Dalman is going to be a nice upgrade to Hennessy though.

I'm really excited to see what this defense looks like. There's been a whole lot of hype about the secondary, and I want to see if they're actually good. The thing is that I really can see this unit doing well.

I think Dalman is their guy.  And I think they like Neuzil, so moved him to center.  Would not surprise me if they are not looking at Hennessy for guard or for comp picks down the road.

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