FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Day 1 of training camp is in the books and, predictably, it was pretty hot Thursday morning at the Falcons training complex. But the high temperatures and humidity are not such a bad thing, says Falcons center Alex Mack.
"It was warm out there, but it wasn't terrible," Mack said of the conditions. Practice-time temperatures were in the low 80s.
Mack, a four-time Pro Bowler who signed with the Falcons in March of 2016, said he uses the heat as an opportunity to improve – mentally and physically.
"Something really good about having a hot day is that it teaches you how to work in adversity," Mack said. "That's when you're tired and your legs are really weak and it's been a hot day, it shows you how much more you need to focus in those game-time conditions. Fourth quarter of a long, hard game, your legs aren't going to feel great and you have to be able to mentally focus and be used to being uncomfortable – it's going to give you an advantage."
Mack, how's who's entering his ninth year in the league, said players have to be smart though, too. Recovery and pacing yourself in the heat are just as important as working through adversity.
"If you really blow it out every day, you're not going to have much to give for the later days of camp," he said.
Also heating up, the battle at right guard
One of the most talked about position battles heading into training camp is the one taking place at right guard between and Ben Garland. And iIt's one that coach Dan Quinn expects to last for at least a few preseason games.
Mack said he expects the battle to be "an interesting part of camp" and that Schweitzer and Garland "look ready." He also explained that it's "normal procedure" for the Falcons to rotate have "a lot of guys rotating through there" – so don't read too much into things early on.
"Really, the whole offensive line all camp long – we're going to be moving people around just so you want to be prepared in the case of an injury and you've worked with everybody," Mack said.
While Mack might not know who will be lined up next to him yet, don't expect communication to be an issue.
"That's one of the jobs I take very seriously – communication, lining up – I think that's a center position role," Mack said. "Everyone on the O-line is really in tune, knows what's going on. They still help me out when they see things. As we go through it, it's going to be really good to have guys in those positions who know what they're doing."
Things starting 'fast' under Steve Sarkisian
Steve Sarkisian took over the Falcons' offensive coordinator position in the days following Super Bowl LI and has had an entire offseason to learn the offense and throw in some new wrinkles.
So how do things look so far, at least from Mack's perspective?
"Sark is doing a good job stepping in, starting fast," Mack said, "and 2017 is going to go really well."
That's a pretty strong endorsement.
Lesson learned when it comes to jet skiing and jewelry
One question that several players were asked following practice was about Julio Jones and his missing earring – which was reportedly worth $100,000. Not even Mack could escape being asked about it.
His response, though, was … unexpected.
"I have yet to lose my $100,00 earrings," Mack said. "If I go jet skiing I now know what to do."
And when he was asked if he knows of other offensive linemen wearing $100K earrings?
"I don't know if we have one in this building," he said.