The Atlanta Falcons put in work Tuesday morning on the fourteenth day of XFINITY training camp. Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith was back again Tuesday to work with the defensive line.
Toilolo Moving in Right Direction: Levine Toilolo has noticeably improved since last year, as evident on Friday during the preseason opener. Despite being on the field for only 12 passing plays, he hauled in three receptions for 36 yards—including a 21-yarder from T.J. Yates. The 6-foot-8 tight end believes Dan Quinn's high-energy, low-stress atmosphere has helped him get better, and it's easy to see why: Toilolo appears a lot more comfortable on the field than he did in 2014 and doesn't seem afraid to make mistakes during practice.
"I think the attitude that Coach Quinn definitely brings in—being about the team—he definitely tries to make it an environment where it's not stressful and you're just out here competing with the guys and just pushing each other to get better," he said. "I think that's definitely something that's allowed me to relax and just play football."
RBs Healing: Running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman, each dealing with a hamstring injury, looked good in practice and are on track for quick recoveries. Although its unlikely they suit up for Friday's exhibition contest in New York, Quinn has yet to rule out either.
"We're just going to keep working them through and see where we go to the game," the head coach said. "We're not going to put them out there unless they're totally ready. This is part of the process—blitz pickup, running the tracks on offense, one gap at a time, making sure they're getting their reps and their turns."
O-Line Progressing:Installing the outside zone blocking scheme is no easy task, and if history is any indication, there's bound to be a steep learning curve for the Falcons' offensive linemen. But, according to O-line coach Chris Morgan, the players have done a great job adjusting to Atlanta's new system.
"I think they're on pace," Morgan said. "Every day we just try to get better. That's all we look for out here is to compete every day. The guys are buying in, they're learning the style of play we're trying to develop, the tough mindset. So we're putting it together. Guys are learning to communicate together, fit together in combinations, all of it."
Brooks Reed Back in Action: For the first time since Aug. 3, outside linebacker Brooks Reed—who's been dealing with groin and hip injuries—partook in an entire camp practice. He lined up with the first-team defense and, if he can remain healthy throughout the preseason, is likely to do the same throughout 2015.
"I was really pleased to see that," Quinn said of Reed's participation. "I saw the effort and the energy coming off the edge in the one-on-one drills and he got into some team stuff. It was good first start for him getting back. Yesterday he did some individual (drills). Today he did some more. I'm real encouraged with what we saw."
Captains to be Named Soon: Quinn announced during his presser that the Falcons will name team captains when XFINITY Training Camp draws to an end, The coaching staff will elect yearlong captains for offense, defense and special teams, each of whom will serve in that capacity for all of 2015.