FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The first day of Falcons Minicamp Built by The Home Depot is in the books, and head coach Dan Quinn was pleased with what he saw.
“I hope you felt the team’s speed from the guys today and the improvement they’ve made,” Quinn said. “I though a number of guys have thrown a hell of an offseason.”
And before you ask: Yes, Quinn was asked about Julio Jones. To see what he had to say about that, click here.
There are two more days of minicamp still remaining, including Wednesday’s session which is open to the public, but here are some of the key takeaways from the Falcons’ first practice.
Quinn focused on challenging the receivers
While Quinn finds time to bounce around to every position group in practice, he spent a good portion of the individual drills with the wide receivers. The receivers worked on getting to their top speed and adjusting to the ball as well as throttling down and getting in and out of cuts.
“It was for me,” Quinn said when asked if working with the receivers were an emphasis today. “We were really focusing on a couple of specific routes. So we really wanted to challenge each other at the very top end of our speed, at the top end of that, what it looked like, how fast you could go from full speed into a complete stop to try to break somebody off.”
Trufant working to become a better ball-hawk
Quinn wasn’t the only person to spend a portion of time with the receivers. Cornerback Desmond Trufant was seen working with receiver Mohamed Sanu to catch passes from the quarterbacks early in practice.
The reason for this, as Quinn explained after practice, was to help Trufant work on making the difficult catches that he might see during a game.
“So often, playing DB or receiver, it’s not about the catch that’s right in front of you, it’s the one that’s behind or low,” Quinn explained. “Mo is one of the very best at putting his body in a certain spot, practicing the catch that’s 1 inch off the ground, catching the one that’s behind him. Examples like that to provide to Tru, as a DB very few would come right to him. He has to be in the same way to go and extend and make a catch.”
Saubert made several impressive plays
Eric Saubert may not have seen much action on offense in his rookie season, but the Falcons’ second-year tight end jumped out at the start of minicamp. Saubert made a number of solid catches, including an over the shoulder one-handed grab on the sideline.
Selected in the fifth round last year out of Drake, Saubert didn’t play at a big school but he did put up good numbers as a receiving tight end. In his four years in college, Saubert caught 190 passes for 2,253 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Poole scored a defensive touchdown
During the early parts of the 11-on-11 period, cornerback Brian Poole gained possession of the ball and broke away from the offense for a touchdown. It’s unclear whether or not Poole intercepted a pass or the ball was knocked away from the receiver and he recovered the fumble. Either way, Poole scored.
Plenty of involvement for the tight ends
The tight ends saw a heavy dose of passes during the team portion of practice. Many of those catches seemed to come on crossing patterns, but the position appeared to be the favorite target of the quarterbacks on Monday afternoon.