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5 Things to Know From Day 10 of Falcons Camp

Posted Aug 8, 2016

With the first preseason game looming, head coach Dan Quinn talked about his approach to the upcoming preseason games, including my opportunities for his rookies

Quinn on Preseason Strategy: One of head coach Dan Quinn’s biggest tasks in the next month is to make sure each of his players gets the right amount of game action to be ready for Week 1. On Monday, he discussed his approach to the preseason, which involves giving the rookies a lot of exposure.

“It will really be by position as opposed to unit,” Quinn said regarding snap counts. “So some guys need more looks, more exposure, to have more (reps). Other guys, who I know are game-ready, we’ll move on from them (early). But the young players, yeah, I’m certainly excited to look for them. … There’s a lot to gain from these preseason games: new looks, new stuff in a new environment. So we want to test them, for sure.”

Spoon Excited to Lead: Now entering his sixth year in the NFL, Sean Weatherspoon has embraced a leadership role on Atlanta’s defense. One of his responsibilities this week, he said, is making sure the rookies are relaxed heading into the preseason opener. He plans on accomplishing that by joking around and keeping the mood light — something he learned how to do from Falcons alumni Stephen Nicholas, Mike Peterson and Coy Wire, among others.

Weatherspoon also hopes to reclaim a significant role on defense, where he’s seeing time at MIKE and WILL linebacker. Quinn praised the 2011 first rounder’s versatility on Monday, and Weatherspoon, who’s as upbeat as ever, believes Atlanta’s staff is maximizing his talent.

“I come in here now, I’m being coached at a level that I haven’t been coached at,” Weatherspoon said. “No disrespect to any coaches in this league that I’ve played for, but no one has been as hard on me as these coaches here. They really want to see you go out there and do well.”

Robinson Impressing Teammates: Among those who have been incredibly consistent throughout camp is Aldrick Robinson. As someone who’s familiar with Kyle Shanahan’s offense, the speedy receiver has stood out during team drills, thanks in large part to his combination of speed and precise route-running. Julio Jones has liked what he’s seen from Robinson so far and thinks he can be a valuable part of the offense — especially in the vertical passing game

“He’s definitely a great guy, a great deep-ball threat,” Jones said. “(He has) great speed, great hands. He’s going to be another addition to the team down the field.”

Ryan Flashes Speed, Sort Of: Matt Ryan is another player who showed off his wheels on Monday, scrambling for positive yardage several times when needed.

Ryan has proven he can tuck the ball and sprint if he has to — just ask Thomas Davis — but Jones doesn’t want his quarterback to get overconfident in his running ability.

“Oh, yeah — Matt, he can move a little bit. But I don’t want to give him too much credit. It might go to his head and he’ll always want to run the ball,” Jones said with a laugh.

“You know how it is. You know how offensive guys want to go on defense and think they can backpedal and play DB. So you don’t want to put it in Matt’s head that he’s a running quarterback. Just keep him level-headed.”

Injury Update: RB Terron Ward (ankle), TE Levine Toilolo (hand) and S Keanu Neal (trunk) sat out Monday’s practice. According to Quinn, there’s about a 50/50 chance Neal plays in Thursday’s exhibition contest. As of now, there is no timetable on Ward and Toilolo’s return.