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5 Things to Know From Day 3 of Falcons Camp

Posted Jul 30, 2016

The pads went on the intensity was present on Day 3. WR Julio Jones provided an injury update and CB Jalen Collins performance turned some heads.


Julio Speaks: Julio Jones was again limited during practice Saturday; however, he told the media that, although he tweaked a muscle on Thursday, he feels 100 percent healthy. Head coach Dan Quinn didn’t sound concerned either, saying Jones will be a full participant again sooner than later — perhaps as early as Sunday.

“Definitely nothing to worry about,” Jones said. “I’m good to go.”

Collins Turns Heads: Jalen Collins has had an excellent camp thus far. Coaches have challenged the second-year cornerback to stay aggressive from snap to whistle, and as he showed during Saturday’s practice — his best yet — Collins is doing exactly that.

“Jalen did make some plays on the ball,” Quinn said. “We really wanted to see him battle. We’ve played him both outside and in nickel. He’s really done a good job. I think the last three days, what’s jumped out to me is the finish.

“At the end of the plays, the reach that he has to go poke — we’re just going to keep looking for those matchups. But I’m pleased what we’ve seen through the first three days. … He’s in a good place, and he’s really working at it hard.”

Pads Go On: Saturday’s practice was the first with full pads, and naturally, there was a lot more hitting than the previous two days. Coaches wanted to see players be aggressive and hold back when necessary, and a few rough tackles notwithstanding, they maintained that mentality throughout the morning.

“That was one of the topics this morning. It’s another part of our plan: Don’t lose your mind and still ball,” Quinn said. “And now we just get to play at an even higher intensity. But rule No. 1, protecting the team, is still in effect.”

Hardy Developing: Justin Hardy is another member of the 2015 Rookie Club who’s impressing teammates and coaches alike. His routes have been crisp; he’s caught nearly every ball thrown his way, including several that require leaping one-handed grabs by the sideline. Having immersed himself in Kyle Shanahan’s playbook and taken plenty of snaps with Matt Ryan, the 5-foot-10 receiver looks ready to assume a big role this season.

“It’s all about confidence. Hardy has always had it,” Jones said. “And that (goes for) all young guys, as well — just getting them to believe in themselves. Yes, the NFL is the next level, but you still have to believe in yourself and do what you do and be aggressive. You can’t come out here and second-guess yourself; that’s when you’re going to play slow.”

Neal ‘Off to a Good Start’: Coming off a strong minicamp, first-round pick Keanu Neal has looked solid this week — in the box and deep in coverage. Jones has been pleased with the strong safety, saying Neal “looks great,” is “a physical guy” and “can do it all.” Quinn, who’s giving his rookie DB lots of first-team reps, expressed a similar sentiment.

“I think he’s off to a good start. It’s nice to see him match up in all the tight end matchups that we could get today,” Quinn said about Neal. “We know the physicality that he brings; I think that part of his game will now come more to life now that we’re in more padded practicing. More importantly, the learning right now is what’s taking place for him, and he’s working extremely hard at it.”