News

Print
RSS

Five Things We Learned From Friday Night Lights

Posted Aug 2, 2013

We take five observations from AtlantaFalcons.com's Daniel Cox from his night watching and listening to all the happenings at Kia Motors Friday Night Lights.

1. First Time Back: Outside of some of his brief experiences in the UFL, Friday's Friday Night Lights event was the first time Falcons linebacker Brian Banks has tackled since he was in high school. After signing for fans for around 20 minutes at the conclusion of the scrimmage, Banks took a deep breath as he walked off the field and just smiled. He was one of the last players walking off and he said everything about Friday night was good. On the field, Banks had the opportunity to continue to man the middle linebacker position, calling plays and getting his defense lined up. He said linebacker coach Glenn Pires said he felt like the linebackers came together on Friday and looked like they knew what they were doing. Ultimately, Banks was thankful to be on the field and was overwhelmed by Falcons fans wanting his signature, a picture with him or just to speak with him for a moment.

"Just to be a part of this, for people to call your name and have people that support you is incredible," Banks said. "For people wanting to be a part of the crowd of people that said 'I believed in him.' To me, that's so big. I've seen both sides of the human spirit when people downplay, degrade you and humiliate you. To be here now when people want to be a part of your forward progression, it's a blessing and I thank God every day."

2. Coffman Continues: The race to earn the right to be Tony Gonzalez's backup this year continues and at the conclusion of Friday Night Lights, Coffman had once again shown he's got a good chance to win that role. During 11-on-11 drills, Coffman continued to make catch after catch, including an impressive one in blitz situations with the first team when he laid out in a dive to grab a Matt Ryan pass.

PHOTOS: See Images From Friday Night Lights

3. Falcons Fans Pack The House: Each year the success of Friday Night Lights grows and this year saw an unprecedented turnout. Over 14,250 fans showed up to Bobby Gruhn Field at City Park Stadium to watch the Falcons practice and scrimmage and that number is a record for Friday Night Lights.

4. Thompson Ends It: Cornerback Peyton Thompson made the most of his action on Friday and may be making a bid to secure one of the final depth cornerback positions after spending last season on the practice squad. After the offense scored a late touchdown, the field position was flipped with time running out in the scrimmage. Thompson picked off a pass and ran it all the way back for a touchdown of the pick-six variety. The touchdown ended the game in a 14-14 tied.

5. Still Competing: After the practice, head coach Mike Smith said when they review the film they'll be looking to make sure players were correct with their assignments and practiced at full speed. Also, Smith said while they're making progress in evaluating their roster, there are three primary spots that are up for grabs:

"We have an open competition at a number of positions, linebacker being one of them," Smith said. "Secondary and the offensive line are two more. Those are probably the three areas where we're not set in terms of what our roster will look like."