Training Camp Takeaways

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Takeaways: Falcons secondary steals show, looks dangerous in camp

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The fourth and final day of the first block of AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp was arguably the most entertaining yet.

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The receivers paired off with the defensive backs for some one-on-one showdowns that provided a few great highlights like the ones below.

Thursday marked a great day for the Falcons’ secondary. Rookie draft picks Jordan Miller and Kendall Sheffield finished a strong start to camp on a positive note, and the usual suspects continue to make plays.

Damontae Kazee had a nice interception and a couple of pass breakups during an 11-on-11 period, Taveze Calhoun made a leaping pick after a diving pass breakup and Desmond Trufant made several nice plays on the ball.

The Falcons’ passing offense was locked in on Wednesday, and it clearly left a bitter taste in the defense’s mouth. Coach Dan Quinn wants to see his defense creating more turnovers, so he must have been pleased with today’s performance.

Second-year receivers flashing

Christian Blake and Devin Gray earned a pair of practice squad spots with the Falcons in their first NFL seasons, and they are once again catching people’s attention in training camp. Showcasing their speed on Thursday, Blake and Gray each had long touchdown catches and they have seemingly improved in their second year.

“We know both of them have real speed,” Quinn said of Blake and Gray. “Having guys who have the ability to take shots down the field, that can take the top off a defense … They’re taking their time right now to say, ‘I’ve made the improvement, I’ve put the work in,’ and we’re going to give them their chances to get a good look at them.”

James Carpenter, Jamon Brown continue splitting snaps

There has been a bit of a pattern developing over the first four days of camp. While rookie Chris Lindstrom is getting every snap with the starters at right guard, the left guard spot appears to be turning into a true camp battle. Veterans James Carpenter and Jamon Brown have been on a daily rotation with the starters at the spot. On the first and third day of camp, Carpenter played 16 snaps with the starting offense in 11-on-11 situations while Brown had four snaps with the starters. On the second and fourth days of camp, that flipped, with Brown getting 16 snaps to Carpenter’s four.

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Open Practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Other observations

Rookie receiver Kahlil Lewis can fly. He torched Ryan Neal deep on a one-on-one drill, and this comes two days after he made a nice sideline grab over a defender.  

Devonta Freeman looks like his old self out on the field, and he had a number of long runs during the first 11-on-11 period. The offensive line opened up several holes for Atlanta’s backs on Thursday.

Second-year receiver Russell Gage lined up at wildcat quarterback on Thursday. Mohamed Sanu is the player traditionally in that role for the Falcons.

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