Julio Jones focused on winning: Julio Jones' current contract expires at the end of this year, and while the team has made it a priority to lock him into a long-term extension, talks are still ongoing. Although the timeline for a new deal is unclear, the star receiver isn't concerning himself with off-field matters. When asked if he considered holding out during minicamp, he said, "No. I'm here to win. If I'm not here, I'm not helping my teammates."
This quote resonated with his head coach.
"He's been absolutely one of the best competitors I've had the privilege to be around," Dan Quinn said of Jones. "I've been around a lot of them. So for me to connect with him in that way with what he stands for as a player, what he stands for as a man, he's a really unique guy. I love his attitude and the approach he brings to our team. He's a great teammate and shows that respect for one another.
"So yeah, I couldn't be more pleased to see all the things. I'm not surprised one bit by his answer."
Defense swarming: The defense came down with a number of impressive pass break ups and interceptions — a sign the players are digesting the playbook and starting to react more naturally.
The second day of Falcons minicamp, built by The Home Depot, was held on Wednesday in Flowery Branch. Fans filled the hill next to the practice fields to watch the drills.
Two defensive backs who stood out were Jonathan Mincy and Ricardo Allen. Mincy, a UDFA cornerback out of Auburn, was flying all over the place, made at least three PBUs and held his own against Jones during one-on-ones. Allen continued to shine by hauling in two interceptions at free safety.
O'Brien Schofield leading the way: As someone with lots of exposure to Quinn's defense, O'Brien Schofield has taken on a leadership role in the Falcons locker room. The former Seahawk, now being used as a strong side linebacker, has a strong relationship with Quinn and played a multitude of positions in Seattle. This wide-ranging experience makes him a valuable asset to those who are less familiar with the system.
"A lot of people have (come to me with questions)," Schofield said. "The key is for me just leadership, just going out every day working, showing guys that have questions how to do it, how to practice, what's expected."
Justin Hardy, Leonard Hankerson off to strong starts: Third-round draft pick Justin Hardy has made a good first impression on some of his fellow skill position players. On Tuesday, Matt Ryan praised the WR for his consistent improvements; today, Julio Jones commended Hardy for the way he's responded to challenges thrown his way.
Leonard Hankerson, who will compete with Hardy for playing time, has made a number of impressive catches during Minicamp and, as someone who played for Kyle Shanahan in Washington, feels comfortable in the new offense.
"What we really like about Hank's game is that big catching radius," said Quinn. "He's got long arms and can go catch it whether it's low or high, all the deep overs that he's a factor on. So that's one of the things that really jumped out."
Lamar Holmes injured: According to Quinn, offensive tackle Lamar Holmes broke a bone in his foot during Tuesday's practice. The team is waiting for a detailed prognosis and doesn't know when he'll be able to return.