The Atlanta Falcons were back at work on Monday for the fourth practice of 2015 XFINITY Atlanta Falcons Training Camp. The team was joined by special guest, Freddie Roach, former boxer and renowned boxing coach.
Roddy Adjusting to Age:** Now on the back end of his career, Roddy White, 33, understands that he is no longer a spring chicken. To combat the effects of age, he's made an important adjustment to his daily routine.
"Just starting earlier," White said. "Every day begins a little bit earlier."
Quarterback Matt Ryan has certainly noticed White's determination and believes his oldest receiver has a lot left in the tank.
"If there's one thing I know more so than anything else, Roddy White is one of the most ferocious competitors that I've been around," Ryan said. "He loves playing. When you have guys like that, you can't discount them any time."
Toilolo Impresses: The tight end competition is getting more intense, and Levine Toilolo, who started in 2014, had his best day of camp. The 23-year-old made several difficult receptions over the middle and displayed sound blocking technique — especially late in the practice when matched up against Vic Beasley, Jr. Although the skilled edge-rusher steadily exploded off the snap, Toilolo kept his composure and prevented any disruption in the backfield.
While Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki are skilled pass-catchers, Toilolo can still earn his keep by blocking well and developing a sense of consistency.
"That whole group has really been battling for it," Quinn said of the TEs. "It's kind of like, you see one, you see all of them together. They go to meetings, they go to the weight room, they're out studying … I feel that connection from that group. That's how you get better: one guy pushing another guy."
Worrilow Happy with New Linebackers: The Falcons bulked up their linebacker corps by signing Justin Durant and Brooks Reed: two veterans who can assume starting jobs right away. MLB Paul Worrilow has enjoyed working with his new teammates and expects they'll significantly improve the defense.
"These are two guys who have played at a high level before," Worrilow said. "They're learning to play together as a unit. The camaraderie — that will come. But they are a couple of proven guys who will make us better."
Ryan On the Run:New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan likes his quarterbacks to move around, and Ryan, a prototypical pocket passer, has spent considerable time adjusting to his new requirements. While some are skeptical of his ability to roll out and make throws on the run, he's looked awfully comfortable on those plays — especially on Monday during 11-on-11s.
"I've done it at different points of my career," Ryan said of being a mobile QB. "It's been a big part of Kyle's scheme in the past, and we'll kind of figure out how it shapes to our personnel and shapes to the game plans that we're going to put in. But we're certainly working on it."
Injury Update: Speaking of Reed, he took most of practice off to from a lingering hip/groin ailment. Ricky Hemuli (ankle) and Cliff Matthews (lower hip) were absent, as well. Lamar Holmes remains on the PUP list with a broken foot.