5. Going Deep: When the Falcons drafted Julio Jones in 2010 they had visions of an explosive playmaker, especially deep down the field. The Matt Ryan-Julio Jones connection has seen plenty of that explosion in the past two seasons and it looks like the two are ready for more this year. Ryan connected with Jones on a number of deep passes in Thursday's practice, showing that Ryan's new deal didn't take anything off his throws and Jones is ready to be a dominant force in 2013.
4. Tony's Best Team: While speaking to the media after practice, Tony Gonzalez said the same things he said last year during camp about the Falcons' collection of talent applies to this year as well. The 13-time Pro Bowler said this year's squad stands out in his memory.
"It's the best team I've been on," Gonzalez said. "It's just like last year. Take the same interview I did last year and replay it. We're surrounded by talent, we added talent, Osi (Umenyiora) and Steven Jackson in the backfield. Who knows who else they might get in here now that they've got Matt's deal done. The sky's the limit on what we can do, but we understand that. On paper doesn't mean anything."
If he thinks they're better than last year, that could mean good things to come in 2013.
3. Controlling The Line: The exit of a few veterans in the offseason makes six-year veteran Justin Blalock the elder of the offensive line and he's embracing the role. In past years, the veterans of that group made sure the rookies supplied the lineman with very specific snacks and treats for each meeting. This year Blalock gets final say in meeting room treats and said "pretty much whatever I say goes."
2. Putting In Work: Head coach Mike Smith has had the opportunity in his career to coach a number of future Hall of Fame players and players whose work ethic draws respect from many and Thursday he added another player to those ranks: Steven Jackson.
"Steven is one of the hardest working guys that I've been around and I've just been around for him for 70 or 80 days," Smith said. "He has a great work ethic, not only in the weight room, but on the field and in the classroom. He's done a great job learning our offensive schemes. It's new to him so this is different than what he's done in years past, but he's got a great work ethic."
1. Trufant/Alford Time Share: In the offseason Smith said his two rookie corners, Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, would get plenty of quality reps in training camp and we saw he meant it on Thursday. The defense saw a lot of rotating players in and out and mixing starters with depth players. Trufant and Alford frequently found themselves on the field together with other starters and at one point, we may have gotten a glimpse at the secondary of the future with Trufant and Alford on the outside and Robert McClain manning the slot.