Three pre-camp takeaways: Dimitroff, Quinn discuss position battles, Falcons' health, more

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- As Falcons players reported for the start of the 2017 AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp, coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff held their annual pre-camp press conference at the team's training complex.

Confidence and excitement exuded out of Quinn and Dimitroff as they spoke about their goals for the upcoming camp, starting with their specific areas of focus.

Here are the three biggest takeaway heading into camp, which kicks off Wednesday morning:

1. The Falcons are (relatively) healthy as camp begins

The Falcons enter camp with no players on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.

However, three players will be held to limited participation to start: Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel and rookie Takkarist McKinley. Quinn has a detailed plan in place to ease wide receivers Taylor Gabriel (lower leg strain) and Julio Jones (toe) back on to the field.

Jones underwent surgery on his toe this offseason and was unable to partake in any of the team portions of Atlanta's offseason workout program. The All-Pro receiver was often spotted running and catching passes off to the side during mandatory minicamp.

After injuring his toe in December of the 2016 season, Quinn and staff began to limit Jones' participation weekly, and they are likely to do the same during training camp.

"We try to limit him based on his past and follow that model," Quinn said. "It's been a good one in terms of his readiness to play. Some days he gets more, some days he gets less. We want to make sure the reps for him are real meaningful ones. We try to do that not only during the regular season, but here in camp too. It's a fine line to balance the work you need to get right and get ready and the work where it could be at that spot. We do have a good plan in place to make sure over the next month he's really feeling at his best, and also has the work with Matt (Ryan) to make sure their connection is strong."

Gabriel suffered a lower leg strain in the offseason and was limited during minicamp as well.

As for Atlanta's first-round draft pick, McKinley, the rookie is progressing well, according to Quinn.

"Good news is [we got] great reports from the docs, he's ready to start playing."

Quinn said the team will take the proper precautions in his transition back, starting him at individual work before full team reps.

2. There will be 'competition in all the spots'

Competition is the central theme of the Falcons' program so players are expected to push one another each and every day of practice. That said, there are a few position group battles Quinn and Dimitroff are especially excited to see play out during camp.

Quinn listed the wide receivers, linebackers, running backs as the ones he'll be watching particularly close. And Dimitroff added the right guard battle as one to watch.

"There will be competition in all the spots," Quinn said. "We are going to try every guy as far as we can. Every guy we are going to try and push it to see where we can take it too."

3. Dimitroff: Never been more comfortable with a roster than this one

Not only do the Falcons return the core of their team that got them to the Super Bowl in 2016, they also added some players through free agency and the draft who could be end up being impact players.

The combination of what the Falcons already had in place and what they added gives Dimitroff a sense of comfort he's never had before.

"We know going into this year that we're going to have some battles at some positions and I don't think that I've been more comfortable with a total roster, and I've said this publicly as well, as I feel we're going into this season with," Dimitroff said. "So, that's where we are. Why don't we kick it off and we'll get rolling here on '17. Let's start it off."

The Falcons return nine of 11 starters on offense from last season and a solid foundation of youth on defense.

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