The Atlanta Falcons headed into the final week of organized team activities before minicamp on Tuesday in Flowery Branch. Falcons alumni were in attendance and circled up with the team at the end of workouts.
Trufant evolving into a leader: Desmond Trufant has already established himself as one of the more promising young cornerbacks in the NFL. Now a veteran, expectations have been raised considerably — both in terms of what he's capable of on the field and what he can offer his teammates. With this in mind, coaches are asking him to focus on improving himself rather than worry about the competition. It seems he's taken their advice to heart.
"I know I haven't reached where I want to go, but at the same time, I know I'm a good player," Trufant said. "I'm just working every day, trying to be the best. If they're not saying I'm the best, I'm not really listening to them."
In addition to taking the next step as an individual, Trufant has started to embrace a leadership role. Among those who can benefit from his tutelage is rookie Jalen Collins.
"I know when I first came in, I had guys like Robert McClain," Trufant said, "guys that were helping me as a rookie. So it's only right that I do that for (Collins).
"He's tall and long. He's just willing to learn. He's not 100 percent right now, but he's getting better. We're excited to see him; the coaches are excited to see him. He's going to be a big help for us."
Cox happy with young D-linemen:Defensive line coach Bryan Cox likes what he's seen from Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett. Cox mentioned Beasley's strengths that show up on tape — first step quickness, athleticism, closing speed — have been visible here at OTAs, even though pads have yet to be worn. In regards to Jarrett, who may have fallen in the draft because of his 6-foot frame, Cox doesn't think size will be an issue.
"I think the one thing about it that's good for us is (Jarrett) gives us a different body type," Cox said. "He's small in stature in terms of height, but he has a big heart. He's strong, he's competitive, he's well conditioned. And he's different, so you come with Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai, then you bring him into the game, you have a change of pace guy. I think at some point down the line, some point this season, he'll pay huge dividends for us."
Ricardo Allen impressing:Quinn has been pleased with Ricardo Allen's performance and gave the 23-year-old some first-team reps at free safety. The FS battle is shaping up to be an interesting one, as Allen, Charles Godfrey and Kemal Ishmael — who took first-team reps, as well — are all in the mix.
Injury update:William Moore, Jalen Collins, Peter Konz, Jake Matthews and Brooks Reed returned to practice in limited capacities. Beasley was also among those who were limited. The first round pick has a strained shoulder and, although the damage is not believed to be serious, took it easy as a precaution. Jon Asamoah, who is working through an ankle injury, was one of the players kept indoors; Marquis Spruill, still recovering form the ACL tear that sidelined him for all of 2014, wasn't on the field, either.
Alumni look on: A number of former Falcons attended practice on Tuesday, including Tommy Nobis, Bob Whitfield and Brian Finneran, who Quinn at one time coached against.
"It was nice to have so many of the alumni players out there today," Quinn said. "To get connected with a guy like Tommy Nobis and Bob Whitfield and Brian Finneran … I really enjoyed talking to those guys."