Training Camp Takeaways

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Takeaways: Turnovers fuel Red team to huge lead in first Falcons scrimmage

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – For the first time during AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp, the team split into two units and held the first half of a scrimmage.

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The second half of the scrimmage will take place during Monday’s practice, but the White team will have some catching up to do. Led by a pair of interceptions from Ricardo Allen and Desmond Trufant, the Red team, which consisted of the starting defense and the second-team offense, jumped out to a 23-7 halftime lead.

Brian Hill and Christian Blake both caught touchdown passes from Matt Schaub, and rookie running back Tony Brooks-James scored on a goal-line run to give the Red team their halftime lead.

Although he didn’t get into the end zone on Sunday, rookie Olamide Zaccheaus was the brightest star offensively for the Red team. He made the play of the day right at the start of the scrimmage to draw the loudest cheers from the crowd.

The White team consisted of the starting offense and the second-team defense, but Ryan’s uncharacteristic interceptions stalled two drives, one of which ended at the goal line. Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith saw several targets coming out of the backfield as the Red team did a good job generating pressure with the defensive line.

It’s also worth noting that coach Dan Quinn appeared to be calling the defensive plays for the Red team.

Ryan did ultimately connect with Austin Hooper in the second half for the White team’s first touchdown. On the game’s final play, it appeared Ryan hit rookie Kahlil Lewis in the back of the end zone for a second score, but Lewis was ruled out of bounds.

Other observations

  • Rookie Marcus Green was the starting returner for the Red team, while Kenjon Barner was the starting returner for the White team.
  • Rookie offensive linemen Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary were split up for the scrimmage. Lindstrom played with the starting offense on the White team while McGary was with the Red team offense.
  • Both James Carpenter and Jamon Brown, who are competing for the left guard spot, were with the White team offense. They had almost an even split of snaps during the scrimmage with Carpenter getting 17 snaps to Brown’s 15.
  • Hill was one of the standouts of Sunday’s scrimmage, and he’s putting together a really good camp thus far. Quinn praised Hill’s growth as a receiver after practice, and the running back has shown a welcome combination of agility and strength.
  • Zaccheaus came very close to another big-time play during the scrimmage, but a really well-timed punch by rookie corner Jordan Miller knocked the ball loose. The Falcons’ secondary, as a whole, has been playing well in camp.
  • In addition to his touchdown catch, Hooper made a nice contested catch over the middle on a crucial third down for the White team. His chemistry with Ryan is one of the underrated strengths of this offense.

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