The Falcons are officially back as 2014 XFINITY Atlanta Falcons Training Camp began Friday. Fans gathered on the hill to watch their favorite players practice.
The horn sounded shortly before 5:50 p.m. on Friday night, ending the first official practice of XFINITY® Atlanta Falcons Training Camp. Following a team huddle in the middle of the practice field, players made their way to speak to the many media members about a wide variety of topics, including the expected improvements of the offensive and defensive lines.
Two players added to help the cause are DE Tyson Jackson and G Jon Asamoah, both signed as free agents in the offseason, following careers with the Kansas City Chiefs. After Friday's practice, Falcons head coach Mike Smith discussed what both players bring to the team.
"They're what we expected," coach Smith said. "They're big, strong men. Jon has played a lot of games at the offensive guard position and he's going to offer some stability there, inside, and in our pocket, because we have to keep the push up the middle off of our quarterback."
Asamoah, who looks bigger and stronger than one year ago, finished his first Falcons practice Friday and then provided the key to meeting the coaching staff's expectations of the guys up-front.
"We want to be efficient in whatever we do," Asamoah said. "We want to be efficient running the ball and efficient in pass protecting; that's our goal, that's what's expected, both in the run game and in the passing game."
During Falcons practice, Asamoah looked across the line and saw a familiar force, Tyson Jackson, who continues bringing out the best in his teammates.
"I know I have my work cut out for me every day," Asamoah said about facing Jackson. "I know he's sitting there, right in front of me, every day; the battle continues."
As for Jackson, he didn't hesitate in sharing what's being asked of the Falcons defensive line this season.
"They told us they want us to be a physical presence," Jackson said. "They really want us to take control of the game, early and often; stop the run on first and second down, and on third down, get the pass rushers in there and put some pressure on the QB by any means necessary."
Jackson didn't leave the practice field, before praising the skills of Asamoah, who he's played with since 2010.
"Me and Jon have been going at it for a lot of years in KC," Jackson said. "He's a veteran guy on the offensive line, who knows all of the calls, all of his assignments and he's fundamentally sound. It's always a good thing, when guys like that come out here and help out the offensive line."
Having covered Jackson and Asamoah, last year in Kansas City, Falcons fans have good reason to be excited about what's to come from both players (and both offensive and defensive lines) in 2014.