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Five Things We Learned In Camp: Day 12

Posted Aug 7, 2013

Each day of Russell Athletic Atlanta Falcons Training Camp, AtlantaFalcons.com's Daniel Cox will share five observations from his day watching and listening to all the happenings around camp.

1. Wednesday is Friday: If this were a regular season game week, Wednesday’s practice would have been something more similar to a Friday practice. Closed to the public, the Falcons went through a practice without pads and light in nature. Backup quarterback Dominique Davis got in a lot of work with a mix of players on offense, no surprise since he’s expected to get a large percentage of the snaps at QB in Thursday’s preseason opener. Davis’ offensive line tackle combo most often was Ryan Schraeder at left tackle and Lamar Holmes on the right.

2. A Lot Of Holmes: While Holmes was already competing to win the job at right tackle, he’s now the top competitor, but of course has to fend off competition from below the depth chart. Head coach Mike Smith said Schraeder and Holmes will get the “majority” of snaps at right tackle this week against the Bengals. An athletic pass protector, Holmes has the ability to live up to the third-round draft status of last season. Holmes shared his thoughts on his injured teammate Mike Johnson and the opportunity in front of him after Wednesday’s practice: “It’s a terrible thing what happened to Mike. Mike was a great guy and a great teammate. Mike helped me a lot and he’s been here for a while. (The competition battle is) a part of the game. Things happen, coach will tell you you’re one play away from being a starter so you have to always prepare like you are the starter. It’s just something that you have to do.”

PHOTOS: See Images From Day 12 Of Camp

3. Smith on Johnson: During Wednesday’s post-practice press conference, Smith was asked about the Johnson injury. The head coach didn’t want to speculate yet on a time frame that Johnson will be out but did share that he spoke with the right tackle Tuesday night: “He’s doing well and resting comfortably. We’ll have a lot more insight when he has the surgery in about a week, but it’s a tough break for Mike and for our football team. But we’ve got to be resilient, he’s got to be resilient and we’ve got to continue to move forward.”

4. A Chance At Special: Surrounded by an almost gluttonous amount of weapons on offense this year, Matt Ryan must be ready to tuck his napkin into his shirt and feast on opposing defenses this season, right? Ryan told the gathered media on Wednesday that he’s felt the offense had the ability to be special for the past three seasons and this year is no different, but it’s up to what they do on the field: “We’ve had really talented guys around here so you have that mindset that we can do something special. But just with the guys you have, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to go out there and do that. If you get caught up in worrying about those things it takes away from what you need to be doing. I think that’s what’s so great about the guys we have around us. Everybody is focused on trying to be our best today and if we do that we have a chance to be something special.”

5. Quizz At Kick Returner: Last season, backup running back Jacquizz Rodgers held down the kick returner position. While he didn’t return any for touchdowns, he was solid in the role, offering gains when he could and always taking care of ball. Smith said on Thursday that he thinks Rodgers will fill that role again this season. Among the many things he’ll be watching against the Bengals, he said special teams would be a particularly fun competition. There are quite a few corners and safeties competing for jobs and those same competitions will carry over into special teams, where those guys typically play all four special teams units. He added that rookie corner Robert Alford would most likely be returning punts and kicks against the Bengals.


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