Five Things We Learned In Camp: Day 17

Posted Aug 17, 2013

The Falcons hit the field Saturday for one of the final sessions of 2013 Russell Athletic Atlanta Falcons Training Camp and head coach Mike Smith gave some injury updates afterward and graded out the right tackle position to this point

1. Gonzalez Returning to Atlanta: Head coach Mike Smith expects tight end Tony Gonzalez to return to the practice field Sunday as the Falcons close 2013 Russell Athletic Atlanta Falcons Training camp. Gonzalez participated in the first two days of camp but left due to family obligations — which had been previously agreed upon between Gonzalez and Smith. Gonzalez is slated to play in Saturday's preseason game against the Titans: "We're starting out preparation for the third preseason game this week so he'll be here with us (Sunday). We're excited to have him back on the practice field, as well," Smith said.

2. Smith Provides Update on White: Smith gave an update Saturday on wide receiver Roddy White after White left Thursday night's game against Baltimore due to an ankle injury. White will miss the Falcons' next game against Tennessee and Smith said that White would be in the same plan as the rest of the starters for the final preseason game.

PHOTOS: See Images From the 17th Camp Practice

3. More Injury Updates: Jason Snelling, Robert James and Bradie Ewing will get back on the field this week as the Falcons prepare for Saturday's third preseason game. The three were held out of Thursday's game and Smith said that Snelling would begin on-field work Sunday while James and Ewing would get going at the start of the week. Stephen Nicholas left practice Saturday and did not return. Sean Weatherspoon returned to the field Saturday and looked solid in his first work since injurying a finger against the Bengals during combined practices. Weatherspoon said he doesn't have any limitations due to the injury.

4. Camp Breaking, But Work Left to be Done: The Falcons wrap up camp with a brief practice Sunday morning, which means there will be a mass exodus afterward as players head to their families and homes. The team will be off Monday but begin game prep for Tennessee on Tuesday. Smith likes what the team got accomplished during the camp period but is glad there's still time to work on some things: "We'll go through this week as a dry run in terms of preparation so we'll switch gears a little bit, but we still have some things that we need to clean up, and in some areas, a lot of things we need to clean up." The big thing, Smith said, is to continue the evaluation process. Mandatory cuts start Aug. 27 when teams have to reduce rosters to 75. Final cuts are Aug. 31, when teams will have to be down to 53 players on the active roster.

5. Right Tackles Graded Nicely: Smith has evaluated film from Thursday night's loss to the Ravens and Lamar Holmes and Ryan Schraeder took a step forward, in Smith's opinion. The Falcons tested both extensively by running Steven Jackson at them and seeing how they were able to make way for him. Smith was happy with what he saw from both: "It's going to be a learning process for those guys. This is going to be a big week for them because we're going to play our starters a little bit longer than we have in the previous two games, so it's going to be a great evaluation for them to go into the third quarter."

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