Freeney Hits the Field:For the first time since he agreed to a contract with Atlanta, Dwight Freeney joined his new teammates for practice. The veteran defensive end jumped into the mix with no hesitation and flashed his speed off the edge. He displayed his patented spin move, as well, and even though it looked sharp, he admitted it needs work to go from "the Stage 1 of a tropical storm" to a "Category 5."
"No matter how much training you do, there's nothing like going out here and competing," Freeney said. "That's definitely what training camp's about, kind of get that rust off, get out there with the team.
"I promise you this: Compared to last year, what I had to go through last year getting dropped in on Week 6 … it's just completely different. Different style, (Dan Quinn) takes care of us. Any questions that I have, those guys are doing great at just helping me along."
D-Line Gets Deeper: The signing of Freeney has added to the depth of Atlanta's defensive line The Falcons hope to trot out a deep defensive line this season, one that can rotate constantly to stay fresh and effective throughout four quarters. After his first padded practice with the defense, Freeney, who said the Falcons remind him of the 2005 and 2006 Colts (who won the Super Bowl), is impressed by the guys he's lining up next to in the trenches.
"I love it, man," Freeney said. "We've got so much talent. I always say the more guys that hit the quarterback the better, more guys that rush the quarterback the better. Hopefully we're changing lines like a hockey team: every minute, minute-and-a-half, somebody else goes in. But I'm excited to be a part of this team, a part of this group."
Moore Debuts: Lance Moore also participated in his first practice as a Falcon, and he didn't look out of place despite limited time with the offensive playbook. Adding the former Saint will only make competition at wide receiver more intense — Quinn mentioned WR as a position that has "real depth" — and if he continues to perform like his old self, he could provide a solid boost to Atlanta's passing game.
"I think he did a good job," Matt Ryan said of Moore. "Obviously, I've seen Lance for a long time having played against him in New Orleans. He's a great player, so I thought he did a good job; I think he had one catch for us during the team period (Sunday). He's a veteran guy; he's wily, he knows systems inside and out, and once he gets the terminology down, he's going to be great."
Gearing Up for Preseason: The Falcons will kick off their preseason Thursday when Washington visits the Georgia Dome. With so many new players in tow — especially on defense — the exhibition game will provide coaches a valuable opportunity to evaluate the draft picks and free agent signings.
"Everything counts," Quinn said. "So all these evaluations that we get on the (practice) field, that's an important part. But then it's also the quarters (during preseason). It's two-part. It's all the evaluations now, the preparation … then we'll carry that part to the game."
Extra Points: Desmond Trufant (hip) returned to practice after sitting out during Kia Motors Friday Night Lights. Regarding Thursday's contest against Washington, it's unlikely Freeney and Moore will play, according to Quinn, but that could change depending on how quickly the two get up to speed.