Freeney Arrives:Dwight Freeney made it to Flowery Branch several hours after Thursday's practice concluded and, before getting acclimated to his new surroundings, spoke to the media about his decision to sign with Atlanta.
The longtime defensive end said he thrived in Arizona last year because the Cardinals used him almost strictly as a pass-rusher — not as someone who would drop back into coverage or stuff the run. When Freeney learned the Falcons wanted to utilize him in a similar way, he knew he wanted to join the organization.
"I've been lucky, man, and I'm just happy to be here and call it Year 15 and have some fun," Freeney said. "I'm excited to play. I still love the game."
Ryan, Receivers Getting on Same Page: Atlanta's passing game looked crisp for the third straight day. Matt Ryan and his receivers were particularly effective during one-on-one drills, according to head coach Dan Quinn, and as the morning wore on, they continued to impress during team drills — especially in red zone situations.
"Yeah, I thought we had a good day of practice," Ryan said. "That's the point of camp, trying to improve and get better every day. I thought we did a nice job today. Our receivers have done a great job, though, through the first week of practices. They've come out, they've competed, they came back in great shape, they're running hard. I think we've been improving on a daily basis."
TD Praises CFA Signing: College free agent additions have consistently helped the Falcons in recent memory, and Brian Poole, signed out of the University of Florida as an undrafted free agent, might continue that trend in 2016. A teammate of Keanu Neal's at UF, Poole is getting snaps with the first-team defense at the nickel back spot and has taken reps at safety, too.
Given his physical makeup, aggressive mentality and experience at those two positions, he could provide some value during his rookie campaign. General manager Thomas Dimitroff believes Poole is off to a strong start and can push for a significant role in Quinn's scheme.
"Brian's another guy who's very, very aggressive in his approach," Dimitroff said. "He has a swagger about him that you normally don't see in a first-year guy. He's done a really nice job out there working hard. He's a combination guy that can sit up there in press very well and turn out. He's really aggressive with that, and it's been impressive watching him.
"That's going to be a really cool battle for the third corner position. He's in the mix like a number of other guys."
Blank Happy with Rookie Club: Arthur Blank set high expectations prior to this year's draft when he said he hoped to get three new starters from the college ranks. It remains to be seen if the Falcons owner will get his wish, but so far, he's pleased with the way Atlanta's first-year players are looking at training camp. On Thursday, he gave special praise to the three defenders in the 2016 draft class — Keanu Neal, Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell — saying, "They're thumpers, they're faster, they're everything we hoped for."
"All the draft picks, they've all had a really good camp so far," Blank added. "I think all of our draft picks will be successful and play a very significant role on our team moving forward."
Injury Update: Tevin Coleman (foot) did some rehab work and sat out his second straight practice. Quinn expects the running back to participate in some fashion on Friday.