Football is here. Rookies reported Tuesday, veterans reported Thursday and XFINITY® Atlanta Falcons Training Camp starts today. While football is one of the most popular sports in America, there are always new fans at the start of each season. Here at AtlantaFalcons.com, we thought we'd share a few terms that are sure to be mentioned by the media, coaches, and players in the coming days.
1. Nickelback: You might hear this term more than any other during training camp as there will be a hot competition at that spot on the defense between Robert McClain, Javier Arenas and Josh Wilson. Head coach Mike Smith has called his defense "multiple" in that he expects the Falcons will run a variety of different defensive looks, but the nickel defense is one that is perhaps relied on more than any other look. In this defense, an extra cornerback replaces a linebacker to provide more coverage in the pass defense game.
2. 7-on-7s: Camp practices are broken up into different sessions, and 7-on-7s is just one of those. This is where the offense breaks up between skill position players and linemen, and the defense does the same with their skill positions and defensive linemen. The offense in passing 7-on-7s could typically include a center, a quarterback, two running backs, a tight end and two wide receivers. The defense matches what the offense puts on the field, including two safeties (free and strong), cornerbacks to match the wide receivers, linebackers to match the running backs, tight ends and full backs, depending on the play. Meanwhile, the trench players get together on a different part of the field and work blocking and pass rush drills.
With 2014 XFINITY Atlanta Falcons Training Camp kicking off Friday, the Falcons arrived at the Branch on Thursday to check in and give a brief preview to the media.
3. Install Session: Fans watching practice may see this session and think there's not a whole lot going on. That's because players are without helmets and they're standing in formations, listening to coaches speak. This session is much more of a mental session than anything, but completely important to the overall understanding of that day's practice for players. They've spent the morning learning about the installation of the playbook in the meeting rooms, but this session is like an on-field classroom where they can actually see and experience the play in slow-motion.
4. 'Y' vs 'F' Tight End: There are two different types of tight ends — one lines up in the formation with the linemen (Y), while the other moves around, depending on the play call (F). Smith said during the offseason: "There'll be a change in the type of tight end we'll have on our roster. We'll have a 'Y' tight end, where he'll be an inline player (lined up tight to the formation). They won't be moving around nearly as much as what we call a 'F.' Tony Gonzalez was more of a 'F' tight end than a 'Y' tight end." Fans can expect Levine Toilolo and Bear Pascoe to be more of 'Y' tight ends, while Mickey Shuler and Jacob Pedersen are more 'F'-style.
5. Team Period: For fans coming to camp, this could easily be the most exciting part of practice. Typically at the end of each session, for anywhere from 20-30 minutes, you'll see full-on 11-on-11s with the Falcons offense facing the Falcons defense. While there won't be any live tackling, and for good reason, it's still a good opportunity to keep an eye on your favorite players to see how they're progressing.