The Falcons were back on the practice fields Wednesday morning after their first day off during 2015 XFINITY Atlanta Falcons Training Camp on Tuesday. The practice kept the quick pace that head coach Dan Quinn has set so far.
Tough Day for Offense: The Falcons' offense struggled throughout practice, as dropped passes, fumbles and miscommunication hampered the unit during seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills. Growing pains were to be expected, though, so one frustrating day isn't going to set off alarms.
"We just have to come out here and continue to do what we do every day, take it one play at a time," said Devonta Freeman. "That's my mindset. That's the team mindset: one play at a time. Mistakes happen — I don't know if the ball got caught up in the grass or anything — but we just have to slow down."
Like Freeman, Quinn didn't seem overly discouraged.
"That's one of the things, from an error standpoint, we can totally control that. So we own that," he said. "It wasn't necessarily where the defensive player made a play on that. They were going for it — the defensive guys were — but the ones that were on the ground, certainly something we can control. Definitely have to shore that part up."
Terron Ward Steps Up: Although the offense as a whole fared poorly, Terron Ward — an undrafted running back out of Oregon State — continued to make noise. By displaying strong hands and running with power, the 23-year-old has shown he can be a versatile asset if needed. And that's exactly what he did as an injured Tevin Coleman watched practice from the sidelines. The Falcons have done a good job signing talented undrafted rookies in recent years, and Ward is starting to look like another potential steal.
"He's always been a guy who's on the details," said Quinn. "He's got a lot of regard from the rest of his teammates because he is that detailed. Early, as a young player, that's how you get that respect. You can count on this guy to get the job done."
No Depth Chart For Now: The Falcons have no official depth chart right now, and until the regular season approaches, that won't change. This gives the coaching staff a chance to mix and match players on different units to see where everyone fits best.
"Really, that's farther away than we're wanting to look right now," Quinn said of creating a depth chart. "So best thing for us, we're still going through our install. Still trying to learn the guys as well as we can.
"As we get through the first, second game, I think by that third week in the preseason, that's where the roles will start to emerge."
Stupar Focused on Future: Nate Stupar earned a roster spot last year by providing value on special teams, but the former Jaguar doesn't believe that success will help him moving forward.
"Last year doesn't mean anything," he said. "(The coaching staff) emphasizing that point a lot. So we have to come in here with a fresh slate and get the work done. Experience always helps, but there's always people going for your spot. So you can never settle or be complacent. So you always have to come to work. Anything could happen."
Injury Update: Cliff Matthews, Coleman and Brooks Reed stretched with the team but did not wear pads or participate in regular drills. Justin Durant returned to the field after a brief absence earlier in the week. Undrafted rookie Beau Gardner injured his knee during practice and is being examined this afternoon.