Five Things We Learned In Camp: Day 3

Posted Jul 27, 2013

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

1. Tony Will Return: After being present for the first two days of camp, head coach Mike Smith said the Tony Gonzalez had returned home to fulfill his obligations with his son, as planned. Gonzalez' son will be starting tackle football this week and the tight end wants to be with his son. Smith said Gonzalez will be back to play in the last two preseason games before the regular season begins.

2. Falcons Fans Flock To The Branch: Saturday's practice had an enormous turnout with Falcons fans. Around 3,626 fans showed up and cheers frequently went up when big plays were made in the passing game. When the Falcons took the practice field, most fans stood and clapped for their NFC South Champions. The energy was strong during Day 3 and the players apeared to feed off the crowd's enthusiasm.

PHOTOS: See Images From Day 3 Of Camp

3. Saturday's Script: The Falcons will put on the pads for the first time on Sunday, but the practice they'll be participating in will be very familiar. Smith said Saturday's was a dry run for Sunday and every sequence will be virtually the same. They won't have a walkthrough in the morning so the players will get to sleep in on Sunday. On Thursday Smith said the installment of the offense and defense to begin camp is the third time the veterans have experienced it so it's becoming very familiar.

4. Five Wide: Falcons training camp is quickly becoming something more like Falcons Passing Academy with the amount of aerial work they're doing. Smith said on Friday that he's been impressed with the passing game in the first few days of camp and the amount of passing is by design. They're focusing more on passing in practice scripts instead of running. The passing continued on Saturday and the Falcons even showed a few five wideout formations that could really put pressure on opposing defenses.

5. Pass Rush Improvement: Before ESPN's Pat Yasinskas left camp Saturday morning, I had a chance to catch up with him to get a few quick thoughts on the Falcons based on what he saw and heard while in town. Yasinskas feels good about Jonathan Massaquoi and Kroy Biermann's chances to help the pass rush this year. He likes Biermann being used all over the field, especially the extra reps at linebacker he's getting and thinks that's going to be a bonus for helping disguise what the defense is doing.

"Biermann in the hybrid role will help provide a steady pass rush," Yasinskas said. "I think the young defensive ends will play a role and Jonathan Massaquoi might be the defensive end the staff has the highest hopes for.”

Smith mentioned both players on Saturday when discussing the pass rush situation.

"I’m very confident that Jonathan Massaquoi, who played for us last year, will compete with these two guys that we drafted (Stansly Maponga and Malliciah Goodman) and we have to get some pass rush out of Kroy Biermann.”

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