1. Standout Player of the Day: Offensive tackle Jake Matthews. The rookie first-rounder isn't going to provide flash and inspire "oohs" and "ahhs" from the minicamp crowd, but he's proving to be impressive nonetheless. His technique, in particular, is impeccable, especially when going against players bigger than him. Facing Tyson Jackson, who has a low center of gravity and the ability to get under an offensive lineman, Matthews dropped his hips and kept his leverage during drills. Later in the same individual drills, he took on second-year DE Stansly Maponga and gave him a good toss. "Jake's got a great skillset, not only in pass protection but in run blocking, as well," head coach Mike Smith said Wednesday. "He's our No. 1 right tackle at this point in time. He's stepped right in and we haven't missed a beat — in fact, we feel like we've upgraded our offensive line in a number of ways, and probably the biggest way was at the right tackle spot.
Jake Matthews vs Tyson Jackson #RiseUp pic.twitter.com/0M6uf905GR — Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) June 18, 2014
2. Cross-Training Mike Johnson: Back on the field and completely healthy this offseason is offensive lineman Mike Johnson, who is returning from a leg injury in training camp last year that landed him on injured reserve. And don't try painting Johnson into any one position anymore. During this minicamp, he's taking on all three. He's spent time at tackle and guard during his career, even as a jumbo tight end in goal line sets, but now he's adding the center position to his resume. "When you start to put together your 53-man roster, you've got to have guys that are cross-trained," Smith said. "Mike has not taken a whole lot of snaps at the center position since he's been with us, but when we drafted him, we felt like he had the flexibility." Smith added that he hopes to have three, maybe four, players on the roster capable of snapping to the quarterback.
OL @MPJohnson79 has been taking some snaps at center #RiseUp pic.twitter.com/hiVgKri3v2 — Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) June 18, 2014
3. Held Back from Practice: Not practicing Wednesday were Roddy White, Julio Jones, Corey Peters, Zeke Motta, Dominique Croom, William Moore and Desmond Trufant. Moore was excused from practice Wednesday for personal reasons, Smith said. Trufant said he was being held out for precautionary measures.
4. Reedy Continues Blazing the Field: Undrafted wide receiver Bernard Reedy, out of Toledo, has gotten a lot of attention in two days of minicamp. Maybe it's because he always seems to be a step or two beyond his defender, or maybe it's that he always seems to haul in the pass when he does get that good positioning. Either way, he's caught the attention of the Falcons coaching staff as Smith said Reedy has "immensely" helped himself during the past two days. "I definitely feel like I'm making the most of it," Reedy said Wednesday. "I think (Tuesday) I maybe had one mental (mistake), and one mental to me is too much. I want to be crisp on everything I do and come in every day and get better, a hundred percent."
5. In Attendance Wednesday: Recording artist Pastor Troy showed up in Flowery Branch to take in Wednesday's practice session, and he showed up complete with his championship belt. Also watching from the sideline was Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry.
Our friend @PastorTroyDSGB is checking out Falcons minicamp today. #RiseUp pic.twitter.com/eibfNGn3gX — AtlantaFalcons (@AtlantaFalcons) June 18, 2014
6. Chippy Practice on Day 2: The temperature in Flowery Branch hovered right around 90 on Wednesday, but a cloud cover all afternoon kept things less oppressive for the Falcons, and it showed in their performance. The practice was higher spirited than the day before, when the sun was blazing down on the players. A scuffle broke out at the end of practice, but Smith pointed to it as a sign of the team's intensity. He said Wednesday's practice was noticeably better than Tuesday's.