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Five Things We Learned In Camp: Day 4

Posted Jul 28, 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. Introducing Mr. Moore: Inevitably names emerge in the first few days of training camp of players that are impressing. Often these names are of players lower on the depth chart, making the most of their time on the field. This year's early winner of this particular sweepstakes is wide receiver Martel Moore. An undrafted rookie out of Northern Illinois, Moore has been turning heads with his speed on the field and what seems to be an inability to drop a pass. Since we don't know much about the sudden competitor at wide receiver, I asked him to introduce himself: "I'm a hard worker. I'm a playmaker. I just go out there and make the plays. If my number is called, I have to make that play. That's how I feel all the time."

2. Ball So Hard: Sean Weatherspoon is never one to mince his words. Outspoken, enthusiastic and honest, Weatherspoon shared this year's objective for the defense, and ultimately the entire team. He's told them this is their focus, so you can expect to see evidence of this on the field this year: "We're just going to ball. We're just going to ball out. The whole team is going to ball. Ballin' is the theme. I don't know if everybody knows it, but that's my thing for the team this year, just ballin'. We're all going to come out and ball. If we do that, we'll be ballin' all year. We're just going to keep working hard and keep our focus and it'll take care of itself."

PHOTOS: See Images From Day 4 Of Camp

3. Maponga Returns: After rehabbing during the entire offseason, rookie Stansly Maponga was cleared to begin practicing in training camp. The defensive end cleared another health milestone today when he took the field for the first time as a full participant practice. Head coach Mike Smith said Maponga was excited to get out there and the coach, in turn, was excited to see the film of practice to review how well he did.

4. Getting Physical: There's no question the first day of pads is a day when the physicality of practice goes up a notch. Sunday was the first day of pads and as expected, the physical play increased. Smith said the goal is to escape without any injuries and on Sunday they did just that. One of the more physical players on the field to end the first week of camp was rookie corner Robert Alford. Although he was billed as a physical player coming into the NFL, he showed Sunday he can play physically and fearlessly. After facing Julio Jones so many times in the past three days, Alford is perhaps picking up some tricks because in one-on-one drills Sunday, Alford was highly physical was Jones, jamming him off the line and keeping up the contact as they went into their routes. Jones is one of the strongest and physically gifted receivers in the league so it was very encouraging to see the rookie tangle with the beast.

5. Wisconsin Strong: Smith said center Peter Konz was among the players that worked hard on strength training in the offseason. During OTAs this year many of the offensive and defensive lineman's strength improved, something Smith said is rare since they're already so strong and close to topping out their abilities and Konz was one of them. Smith said Konz is more naturally strong than weight room strong. Some people call that "country strong."


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