Sanu, Ryan Developing Chemistry:Mohamed Sanu and Matt Ryan were operating on the same page from the start of practice, regularly connecting in stride and timing throws and routes well. The two spent a lot of time together during the offseason, and that work, coupled with natural chemistry, has made them confident in each other.
"During OTAs I worked really hard to get on the same page as him," Sanu said of his comfort with Ryan. "So when we got to training camp, we hit the ground running, and I feel like we know what each other wants and needs to do to be successful."
"There's been a lot of work put in between Matt and the receivers," head coach Dan Quinn said. "It's not a big surprise to see that communication pick up in a good spot."
The Atlanta Falcons are back in Flowery Branch. The team kicked off 2016 XFINITY Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Thursday morning.
Coleman Ready for Bigger Role: Now in his second NFL training camp, running back Tevin Coleman said he feels a greater sense of comfort right now than he did last summer. The Falcons want to get him more carries in 2016 and feature him more in the passing game, which they did Thursday, sending him on a variety of routes during 11-on-11 drills.
"They're finding more ways to get the backs out there and get them the ball," Coleman said. "So it's going to be exciting for us to be back there and get the ball more than just running. Any way I get the ball is any way I get the ball. It doesn't matter if I'm catching the ball, running the ball, receiving a kickoff – anything. (If) I got the ball, I'm going make something happen."
Earlier in the week, Quinn mentioned Coleman as a potential kick return option. The 2015 third-rounder spoke about the prospect of chipping in on special teams, saying, "I'm fast, I'm explosive, so it'd be real exciting to do."
Defense Getting Faster: When asked about the defense, Coleman strongly emphasized how much faster that unit is, adding "they're amazing" and "way more athletic." Rookie linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, drafted in the fourth round in April, in particular has brought a lot of speed to Atlanta's linebacker corps.
Hooper Impressing: Throughout college, rookie tight end Austin Hooper developed into a valuable target by making difficult catches – many of which were corralled in heavy traffic. The Stanford product flashed this skill on Day 1 of XFINITY Training Camp, making at least three tough receptions over the middle and near the sideline.
"He's one that we're going to take a close look at all the way through camp here," Quinn said. "We missed a good bit of the OTAs with him (at school); he was able to participate in the minicamp. We're going to feature him in and find out all he can do. We're going to put him on the line, we're going to put him off the line, we're going to put him on the move. He's going to have a factor on punts; he's long, he can run. I know he had a couple catches today so I'm anxious to go back and look at it."
Julio A-OK: Julio Jones tweaked a muscle early in practice and didn't return. According to Quinn, however, the star wideout is expected to return Friday.