Here are today's top things to keep an eye on:
- Today's first practice session is open to the public. Practice begins at 8:30 a.m. with gates opening at 7:30 a.m. In the event of inclement weather, practice will be closed and the team will head to their indoor practice facility. To find out the latest on the weather, follow us on Twitter @Atlanta_Falcons, keep checking AtlantaFalcons.com, sign up for Verizon text alerts or call our camp hotline at 770.965.2752.
- This morning's practice session is the first time the 2011 Falcons will be in full pads. It should be a high-energy practice with a lot of pads cracking.
- During the first padded practice of the year, it's always fun to keep an eye on the offensive and defensive lines during their individual drills. The big guys really get after it when the pads go on, and it should be exciting to watch the physical battles that take place this morning.
- Rookie wide receiver Julio Jones has had an impressive start to camp. He's made some really spectacular catches during 7-on-7s and team period, but perhaps most intriguing is that he's been working with Harry Douglas returning punts.
- We updated the nickelback position battle Sunday with Daniel Cox's notebook, and it's important to point out that both Chris Owens and Dominique Franks have made some excellent, heads-up plays thus far in camp. This battle could be a close one, and like head coach Mike Smith said Sunday, a fun one to watch.
- Last year at this time, undrafted rookie tight end Michael Palmer was just starting to break away and turn some heads in camp. Now in his second year after making the 53-man roster in 2010, Palmer is looking to take that extra step toward being a reliable weapon in Matt Ryan's offense. So far, so good. Palmer is getting some good reps and appears to be picking up where he left off.
- The defensive leaders have started to talk newly-signed defensive end Ray Edwards under their wing. Edwards spent some time during Sunday's afternoon practice talking with fellow defensive end John Abraham and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. Those three, along with whoever earns the other starting defensive tackle spot between Corey Peters and Peria Jerry, are going to make quite the formidable defensive front, and it looks like they're getting a jump on getting to know one another.