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Practice report: Why Grady Jarrett says Falcons 'trying to push ourselves this week'

Star defensive tackle believes intense practice stretch sets Falcons up well for regular-season grind

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Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett #97 during AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at Atlanta Falcons Headquarters in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Saturday July 31, 2021. (Photo by Matt Haley/Atlanta Falcons)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Grady Jarrett went straight from Falcons practice to the podium following a Thursday afternoon that was as intense as any this training camp.

He wasn't terribly winded, didn't seem overly fatigued despite working out in hot, humid conditions. He seemed confident in his preparation, ready to go when called upon after a hard week's practice work.

The timing fits how the Falcons would get after it during the regular season, with most intense sessions in the middle of the week before tapering down for a Sunday game.

That's what the Falcons have ahead for their preseason finale against Cleveland. It comes on a Sunday, allowing head coach Arthur Smith to set up the practice week like it would run during the regular season.

"We're trying to push ourselves this week," Jarrett said. "It was good being out here in this Georgia heat. We're too familiar with that. We're feeling good right now, just trying to dot our Is and cross our Ts."

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The veteran defensive tackle will prepare like he's going to play Sunday, though it's ultimately undetermined whether he will or not. It's possible he makes his exhibition debut versus the Browns.

"I'm excited to get things going, whether it's Sunday or on [the regular season opener]," Jarrett said. "I'm going on my seventh year with the team and I'm thankful for every rep that I get."

Jarrett's physically ready to go. After seven NFL seasons, he knows when he's in peak football shape. He's at that point now, and mentally ready for what Dean Pees is asking him to do in the new Falcons scheme.

"The more repetition, the better it gets," Jarrett said. "We have a lot of multiple looks, like Coach Pees says. Wherever he wants to put guys, to be most effective, that's what guys are willing to learn. There's no excuse for not knowing multiple positions, so we can put the best group of guys out there together to have a successful defense."

Tori's Tidbits

+ Mike Davis was back at practice on Thursday after Arthur Smith said he was dealing with a "personal issue" on Wednesday. Kendall Sheffield still wasn't practicing. 

+ Josh Rosen had more reps on Thursday with the third team than he did on Wednesday. He showed off his arm strength with a deep ball to Juwan Green. Erroll Thompson was a thorn in Rosen's side, though, breaking up a pass and playing well in coverage during the same 11-on-11 period. Rosen had a nice 7-on-7 segment earlier in practice, completing passes to Frank Darby and the tight ends. 

+ In the special teams periods, Avery Williams, Chris Rowland and Trevor Davis were taking a vast majority of the return man reps. Cordarrelle Patterson took a few, too, but there seemed to be more evaluation going on for the former three than for that of Patterson.

+ Fabian Moreau had a really nice PBU against Calvin Ridley deep during an early 11-on-11 rep. Playing opposite AJ Terrell, Moreau has been an overlooked part of this secondary, but he made his presence known with this play.

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