The Falcons hit the fields on a sun-splashed Tuesday for OTA session No. 8. Check out the photos from the day
Hardy Impresses: Justin Hardy had a solid day of practice, as he moved well outside and in the slot, displayed reliable hands and made a difficult catch along the sidelines during a 7-on-7 drill. The young wide receiver looks more confident in the offense than he did in 2015 and is setting a high bar heading into his second NFL campaign.
"Hardy, he's very teachable. He's going to make great plays for us this upcoming season. It's just all about maturity and the experience. He's a year into it, so he's getting that experience under his belt."
Offense Taking Strides: Hardy isn't the only one who's feeling better about the offense. Having spent a year learning Kyle Shanahan's system, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones said they feel a lot more accustomed to the scheme.
"We're a lot further along than we were at this point last year—there's no question about it," Ryan said. "Just being comfortable within the offense, guys being on the same page. I think we've gotten some really good work (in); the effort's been there. I feel like guys are flying around, and that's what we want this time of the year. I think we've been improving, so overall I'm pleased with how we've practiced these last couple weeks."
Quinn Focused on Self-Improvement: Now months removed from his first year as a head coach, Quinn has developed a better understand of what it takes to build a winning football team. According to him, it comes down to verbalizing what he wants to accomplish.
"For me it started No. 1 with communication and my articulating exactly to the staff what we want from the players," he said. "Communication with the players—can that be better? Can we bridge that better so we all have a clear vision of how we want to play? So I've been working hard on a lot of things, too."
Mack Providing Stability: Alex Mack has certainly made a strong impression on his new teammates. The veteran center, signed to a five-year contract in March, has already developed a lot of chemistry with Matt Ryan and, according to Julio Jones, is using his familiarity with Kyle Shanahan's offense to help his fellow linemen.
"Alex has been great. He's been fantastic," Ryan said. "Obviously a veteran guy who's been around a number of systems, including this one for a year with Kyle in Cleveland. He's a pro. He has picked up things really quickly. A great communicator, which is important on the offensive line, getting those guys on the same page. And he's been really good for us."
Injury Update: Devonta Freeman (high gluteal strain) was limited in practice but is expected to return Thursday. Grady Jarrett was once again held out with knee tendonitis; Devin Hester, Devin Fuller and Chris Chester were also held out.