Training Camp Takeaways

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Takeaways: A new camp battle may provide clue on Falcons’ offensive line

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The second practice of AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp was a wet one, but the players and coaches enjoyed the opportunity to get some work in under rainy conditions.

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Although the rain can impact certain aspects of the game, particularly through the air, it didn’t offer any hindrance to what the Falcons really wanted to work on during Tuesday’s session – communication.

In his new role as defensive coordinator for the Falcons, Dan Quinn stressed the importance of communication to his defense. Quinn made it clear after practice just how vital good communication is on the defensive side of the ball.

“We made a big push on communication,” Quinn said. “And a lot of it at the line of scrimmage prior to (the snap). And some of the best team defenses play in that way … It’s not a one-day thing, I’m going to work like crazy on it.”

The Falcons have a number of veterans on the defensive side of the ball, including Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones and Desmond Trufant, but the importance of having each member of the roster ready to go was made very clear after the number of injuries Atlanta sustained last season.

Roster move: Allen Bailey has been on the Falcons’ radar

Atlanta agreed to terms with former Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey on Tuesday, bringing in an additional piece for its defensive line. While the agreement was only just made, Quinn explained that Bailey was someone they’ve been keeping an eye on since the offseason began. With recent injuries to Steven Means and Michael Bennett, the Falcons believed it was time to give Bailey a call.

Bailey’s versatility should bolster the Falcons’ defensive front. The 6-foot-3, 288-pound defensive lineman has the size to play on the interior of the line, but Bailey can also slide outside and handle one of the end spots if needed. On a defense that rotates its linemen as frequently as Atlanta does, Bailey should have a nice role.

“He’s played in a base defense anywhere from defensive end all the way down,” Quinn said of where Bailey could play. “Like over a tackle to over a center … Size-wise, strength-wise, he’s capable of taking on the big stuff inside.”

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Open Practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Injury updates on J.J. Wilcox and Michael Bennett

Safety J.J. Wilcox and defensive tackle Michael Bennett both went down and left the field with trainers during Monday’s practice. While speaking after practice, Quinn explained that Wilcox suffered a torn ACL that will end his 2019 season. There is hope that Bennett will be able to return this season. Quinn did not name the exact injury Bennett suffered, although reports indicate that he broke his ankle, but did state it was not season-ending.

“Michael is not as bad in terms of season-ending, but it will set him back for a while,” Quinn said. “Likely have to do a procedure to get him back. But hopefully for him, at some space, he’ll be able to come back and return in the ’19 season.”

Battle brewing: Jamon Brown takes starting reps at left guard

James Carpenter and Jamon Brown were the Falcons’ two primary additions on the offensive line in free agency. Carpenter has played left guard for the majority of his career while Brown has largely played right guard, leading to the natural assumption that they would remain in those roles in Atlanta. It was interesting, then, to see Brown working as the starting left guard on Tuesday. Carpenter was the starter at the position on Monday, and he rotated with Brown during the team’s second practice.

That rookie Chris Lindstrom has been manning the starting right guard spot by himself the past two days while Brown and Carpenter are splitting starting reps at the left guard position is interesting.

More observations

  • Marcus Green got the best of Kendall Sheffield early in practice during 7-on-7 drills on a nicely run out route.
  • Ricardo Allen continues to look extremely happy to be back out on the field. He tracked down a Mohamed Sanu fumble during 11-on-11 and dove to grab the ball off the turf.
  • Reserve safety Sharrod Neasman came up with an interception off a deflected pass during 11-on-11.
  • Backup tackle Matt Gono put a defender flat on his back during an 11-on-11 period.
  • Devin Gray torched Atlanta’s defense right down the middle catching a home-run touchdown pass.
  • There was no live contact on Tuesday, but if there had been, Grady Jarrett would have earned a sack going up against the starting offensive line.
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson earned himself an interception after wrenching the ball away from Justin Hardy during one of the final practice periods.

The Atlanta Falcons competed in various drills and installations in the rain for the second day practice. Take a look at the best images here.

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