As the 2017 NFL Combine gets underway in Indianapolis, head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff addressed the media where they provided updates on Julio Jones’ status, recent coaching staff moves, the state of Atlanta’s roster and previewed the draft prospects.
Here are the biggest notes from Day 1:
Surgery still on the table for Julio Jones
Following the Super Bowl LI loss, whether Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones would need surgery for his injured foot had yet to be determined.
And three weeks later, it’s still on the table.
Quinn provided the following update on Jones’ injury status:
“He’s going to go back and visit the doctors in early March and they’ll make a determination if he needs to get any procedures done on his foot,” Quinn said. “He’s off to a good start as far as his offseason goes.”
New defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel will call defensive plays
Looking back on the 2016 season, there was a noticeable change from Atlanta’s defense following the loss to Kansas City in early December. At that time, the defense showcased a newfound swagger and improved level of communication.
Not only were the players on the field making changes, the coaching staff was doing the same.
Quinn revealed to the media in Indianapolis that he took over the play-calling duties during the Week 13 contest versus the Chiefs.
“From that point on, I had called the defense,” Quinn said. “Certainly, it’s true that we collaborate in the game plan and getting everything together. There wasn’t a time that I was so disconnected from the defense that I was in tuned to call. But I felt like that was something that I needed to do to help our team at that time.”
Former secondary coach and new defensive coordinator, Marquand Manuel, will take over the play-calling on defense moving forward, with Quinn heavily involved.
“Moving forward, [Marquand] will call it and I will be involved, like I always am,” Quinn said. “I’ll be involved a lot, that connection he and I have is strong. I’m excited to see him to do his thing.”
Falcons will tender Taylor Gabriel and Ben Garland
Atlanta will tender wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and offensive lineman Ben Garland, Dimitroff announced on Wednesday.
“The guys who are supposed to be tendered, we will tender those guys.” Dimitroff said. “[Taylor] wants to be here. That will be a fun view on seeing how he continues to evolve as a player for us.”
The Falcons first have to determine what level of tender they want to place on Gabriel. The level of tender they place on him goes a long way in determining how difficult it will be for teams to sign him away. Once Gabriel signed the tender, teams can offer him a contract, however, the Falcons would then have the ability to match that offer and keep Gabriel. If the Falcons don’t match the offer, the other team would then have to give draft picks to the Falcons. The picks they would have to surrender depend on the level of tender the Falcons placed on Gabriel.
Following the Super Bowl LI loss, Garbiel expressed his love for the city of Atlanta, saying he “wants to be a Falcon forever.”