1. Off to a Strong Start:Coach Dan Quinn was pleased with the overall work at Friday's practice, where Atlanta's rookies had their first chance to take the field as NFL players. The workout lasted nearly two hours and resembled a typical OTA practice.
"You could tell this was a hungry group that wants to show they can contribute to our club," Quinn said. "They were on the details, really saw a good effort. Those were some of the things that jumped out from those fellas right off the bat."
2. Neal, Hooper Go Head-to-Head: Competition is at the heart of the Falcons' program, and the rookies—Keanu Neal and Austin Hooper, in particular—showed they have the kind of drive Quinn wants to see. Neal and Hooper lined up against each other during passing drills a few times—including one play where the two battled near the sidelines.
"That's going to be going on for years to come," said Quinn. "I was thrilled to see the competition take forth this afternoon."
3. Signing Draft Picks Early is Paying Off: The Falcons were the first team to get all of their draft picks signed, which has allowed the newcomers to enter minicamp focused solely on football. This, according to Quinn, can help the rookies adjust to their new surroundings and learn the playbook at a good pace.
"There were no distractions with these guys," said Quinn. "It's all ball from here on out. That's a big deal, so I couldn't have been more thrilled with (the front office) getting everything together, getting the draft picks signed. We kicked it off today in great fashion.
"I was pumped not only for Thomas (Dimitroff) and his staff to get the draft picks signed, but also for the draft picks knowing how badly (they) wanted to be in here and show it and get right to work. That type of mindset is exactly what we're looking for from the players, to come in and put their best foot forward. There's a lot that has to happen over these next six weeks to get them ready for training camp, and that's really the goal: How fast can we accelerate that process? And that started here today."
4. Why Minicamp Matters: Going from college to the NFL can be difficult, but by easing the rookies into their new lives during this week's camp, the players can build a foundation of knowledge without being overwhelmed.
"I think it's very valuable, this camp is, for a number of reasons. No. 1, it's our first exposure to get them indoctrinated into how we do things," Quinn explained. "And then we'll take the next step and add the veterans and the workouts and the meetings, and then we get to put them all together to practice. They've seen some of the practice tape from the players before; that's how we do the installs.
"A lot of it is based on the practice or the game film. So they get a sense of how we want to do it. Now, as coaches, we can really slow it down, get the exact teaching that we want to get done, do it for a couple days and then get right back into the training—in the weight room, in the classroom—to help them get ready before we get into the OTAS."
5. No Update on Hall: Free agent cornerback Leon Hall visited the Falcons last week, and while Atlanta hasn't ruled out signing him, the team is still waiting on medical tests and has nothing new to report.
"He had a physical with our docs here, so we're still kind of going through some of those studies," Quinn said.