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Notebook: PM Practice - July 31


FLOWERY BRANCH, GA — Looking around the field, most Falcons players seem to have one thing in common, regardless of position.

Roddy White: gloves. Tony Gonzalez: gloves. Mike Peterson: gloves. Sam Baker: gloves.

Wide receiver Kerry Meier? None for him.

The fifth-round pick's lack of gloves is conspicuous to say the least. He definitely caught the attention of his teammates, who seem to be impressed by Meier's abilities with his bare hands.

"There's a couple of guys that have been here over the years I've been here that don't wear gloves," fellow wide receiver Michael Jenkins said. "It's pretty amazing because some of those balls have some good zip on it for him to not have any gloves on."

Meier said he never developed a need for gloves. When he started playing football as a kid, he never used them. As he got older and played more, he just never saw a need for them.

He tried them out a few times, but he didn't feel comfortable with them. He prefers playing bare-handed.

"It's a feel thing. It's just about naturally feeling the laces on your hands," Meier said. "With the glove, they can do a lot of good things. The thing is, I don't think they do a whole lot for me. For somebody else, it might help out a whole lot, but right now I just feel comfortable catching with my natural hands."

Meier is going to stick with what has been working for him, and it hasn't failed him yet. Meier has turned some heads at training camp, including those of his teammates — and not just because of his disdain for gloves.

Meier is trying to break onto a roster that includes a very set No. 1 and No. 2 wide receiver. With things crowded at the position in camp, Meier has had to do a lot to stand out. And he has.

"Coming in as a rookie, what's big is earning your respect and building confidence in your teammates early on," he said. "These guys have been here for six, seven years, and these guys know how to do it. What I'm going trying to do is go out and just replicate what those guys are doing because I know they do it the right way. Right now, I'm just excited to be here with this opportunity to play football at this level and be with this great organization."

Getting in where he fits in: Dimitri Nance not only has to deal with the pressure of being a rookie, but also the stress that comes from being undrafted. The former Arizona State running back has a difficult road with an already crowded backfield, but he's hoping he can fit in somewhere.

"Not too many people get to do this, so I'm just thankful every day that I'm out here and trying to get in," said Nance, who rushed 482 times for 1,934 yards during his career with the Sun Devils. "Right now, I'm just trying to make the team, get on special teams if I can. If they throw me in the running game, I can help with tough runs, short yardage, things like that, but also be explosive at times and make big runs."

Nance said he played special teams during his freshman and sophomore years at Arizona State.

The Burner is heating up: Running back Michael Turner finds it difficult to go through practices without pads.

The Falcons ran the first two days of camp with just helmets and the 5-foot-10, 244-pound bruiser is itching for a little more physicality in practice. Turner has been playing hard to bust through holes in the line, but there's only so much he can do without pads.

"That's part of my game," Turner said after Saturday morning's practice. "I'm really not getting the real feel of it until the pads come on, so right now I look at it as getting conditioning, getting in shape, making reads and things like that. We're still working on the passing game and things like that, but my real game comes out when the pads come on."

Turner won't have to wait long. The Falcons are scheduled to be in pads during Sunday afternoon's session.

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