Brandyn Harvey is making it hard for anyone to ignore him.
First, it's hard to ignore the 6-foot-4 former Villanova Wildcat — he's the tallest of the players the Falcons have in camp at wide receiver. But Harvey is drawing notice for more than just his tall, lanky frame.
Through two weeks of camp, Harvey has drawn the praise of head coach Mike Smith for his ability to repeatedly use his height to make an acrobatic catch. Last week during a practice-ending scrimmage, the wide receiver made a handful of catches that had Smith raving afterwards.
In Friday night's preseason loss to the Dolphins, Harvey was backup quarterback Adam Froman's go-to target, catching two passes for 35 yards, with a long of 18.
Harvey believes his ability to climb invisible ladders and snag balls gives him a shot with the Falcons. He also believes his sure hands are an asset, a trait he has delivered in training camp.
"I like to go up and get the ball and that type of thing," he said. "I'm pretty confident in my hands. That's pretty much it. I like to stretch it down the field with the long ball. I may look like I'm running slow, but I'm not."
He added that last part because he doesn't want there to be any misconception that tall doesn't equal fast. In an offense that is searching for explosive potential this year, he doesn't want to get typecast as strictly a possession guy.
"I'm faster than I look," he added. "I'm deceptive."
Harvey joined the team last year as an undrafted free agent and while he didn't make the team, he was added to the practice squad in late December. He's back for a second go-around this year with the Falcons and he believes he poised to do better.
"This year I feel a lot more comfortable around here and more confident because I know the whole system on offense and the plays," he said. "I go out there each play knowing what I have instead of questioning myself breaking out of the huddle. When you know the plays you can run it a lot of faster."
He was pleased with his performance from Friday night, making the most of his opportunities. He admitted — as did most players — that rust was involved, but he anticipates the work this week will help him and his teammates continue to make strides forward.
While the Falcons appear set at some of the top wide receiver spots with everyone from Roddy White to Kerry Meier and Eric Weems, Harvey knows his skillset is unique among everyone in camp.
He's hoping, like his speed, everyone will look once and then look again once they see his name on the roster once the dust of camp clears.
After Practice Assessment:It's been a few days since the Falcons' loss Friday night to the Dolphins in the year's first preseason game. Smith said the players, who were off on Saturday, had a film session this morning to review what happened in the 28-23 loss.
The head coach said the mistakes were to be expected, but even in the loss, he saw some positives that he was pleased about.
"It's not any different than any first preseason game, whether you had an offseason or not," Smith said. "There's going to be mistakes made. I really thought that the tackling was pretty crisp in terms of what we did on the defensive side of the ball. I thought our guys tackled well. They took some of the individual stuff that we did on the field in practice and took that into the game."
Smith pointed out a few players, Akeem Dent and Darrin Walls, for things they did on special teams that caught his eye.
"On special teams, I thought Akeem Dent did some really nice things covering kicks as well as (Darrin) Walls on a punt return as a gunner," he said.
The young guys made an impression on Smith, but everything wasn't good, as the outcome showed. The head coach cited the defense's lack of ability to contain big plays as something that concerned him.
"We made some plays, but we gave up some plays," he said. "Probably the biggest disappointment was that we gave up the explosive plays on defense with those two long touchdown passes. But the energy was great and the guys played hard. We just didn't get the win."
Injury Update:Smith said Friday's game was a physical one and his team took a few injuries out of it that may cost a few players an opportunity to play in Friday's game in Jacksonville.
Dent, tight end Justin Peelle and quarterback John Parker Wilson are all players the coach said would be unlikely. Dent and Peelle are suffering from knee injuries and Wilson, who was knocked out of the game Friday, is undergoing the league's mandated concussion protocol.
In positive news, Smith said guard Mike Johnson, who has been out for over a week, participated in practice on Sunday and he felt would participate fully on Monday. Tight end Marquez Branson and defensive tackle Vance Walker are both hoping to get back to action this week as well.
Ray Edwards, the team's prize of free agency, missed Friday's game as he bounces back from offseason surgery. Smith shared that Edwards practiced on Sunday, describing his activity level as "almost full participation".
"We're going to see how it goes the next few days and make a determination as we get closer to the end of the week," Smith said. "It's too early to rule him our or rule him in. This was really the next step in our plan to bring him along slowly, to get him into team periods."