Falcons Talk Freeney:When Dwight Freeney arrives in Atlanta on Thursday, he'll be greeted by teammates who are excited to have a famed pass-rusher on board. Jake Matthews said Freeney's spin move is "legendary" and can help him improve in pass protection. Vic Beasley, Jr. said he will be able to learn a lot from the seven-time Pro Bowler, who can serve as mentor to the Falcons' group of young defenders.
"I'm looking forward to it.," Beasley said of Freeney. "He's a great pass-rusher, and he's been playing in the league for quite a number of years, so it'll be great for me to be able to learn from him. Who better to ask than him? He's had great success on the field, and I couldn't ask for a better person to be able to work with."
Matthews Progressing: Coming off a strong season protecting Matt Ryan's blindside, Matthews has an opportunity to solidify himself as one of the NFL's best left tackles in 2016. The No. 6 overall draft pick in 2014 said he feels a lot more comfortable at his position and at "being a professional athlete all around." Quinn has seen that development up close and is happy with the way Matthews is growing in Kyle Shanahan's system.
"It's just another example of a guy going for it," Quinn said. "I've seen tremendous improvement in Jake."
Mack Improving Communication: The addition of Alex Mack has already made a substantial difference for the offensive line, which may be on the cusp of becoming one of the premier units in the NFL. Matthews said the veteran center has been a big help to him personally; Julio Jones has felt Mack's impact, too, especially during 11-on-11 drills.
"Alex Mack, at center, he makes great calls and is snapping the ball very well for us and is putting up some great blocks, so I can't wait to see what he does in the regular season," Jones said. "With him, just the communication on the line, it allows us — receivers and everybody else — to get down the field and make some plays."
Fuller Getting Chances: Atlanta's red zone drill ended with a touchdown catch by Devin Fuller, who performed well throughout the morning. Now healthy after dealing with a hamstring injury during the offseason, the seventh-round pick looks ready to vie for a roster spot with preseason looming.
"He's another guy we're asking to go for it, and we're going to also see what he can do in the return game — as a kick returner, as a punt returner," Quinn said. "So he does look healthy; he does look fast. For us, to see where he can get to, it's going to be an important couple of weeks."
Injury Update: Tevin Coleman sat out of Wednesday's practice with an injured foot. Quinn said the second-year running back could return in a limited fashion Thursday, adding that he envisions Coleman returning quickly.