Falcons football is back.
The full squad is now in Flowery Branch, ready to start AT&T training camp in earnest on Wednesday morning with the first full practice. Pads come on a little while later and then, well, it's on.
- Positional breakdowns: Quarterbacks; Running backs; Receivers/Tight ends, O-line; D-line; ILBs, EDGE; Secondary
- Training camp storylines: Line of scrimmage; Edge rush
- Wyche: Competition will be fierce during fascinating Falcons training camp
- Finding the Falcons rookie class: Drake London, Arnold Ebiketie, Troy Andersen; Desmond Ridder; DeAngelo Malone, Tyler Allgeier, Justin Shaffer, John FitzPatrick
One of the NFL's most intriguing training camps will feature position battles a plenty, with starting spots and rotational roles up for grabs. There are more questions than definitive statements you can make about the Falcons depth chart, which will add import and intrigue to this summer's proceedings.
The Falcons will conduct joint practices against the host New York Jets in mid-August and will welcome Jacksonville for more such sessions later in the month.
And, in following with an offseason theme that will carry into the summer and beyond, the Falcons will have to go prove it. They'll have to earn respect. Individuals will compete for prominent spots on a team in transition, looking for players to step up and establish themselves as long-term solutions.
You'll have plenty of opportunities to see the Falcons in person, and AtlantaFalcons.com will have you covered every step up the way, with what you need to know during camp. Here are some key dates and storylines to follow as we head towards the regular season.
Falcons Camp Calendar
July 26 – Players officially report to training camp
July 27 –The first official practice takes place in Flowery Branch
July 29 – First open practice at IBM Performance Field
Aug. 1 – Falcons practice for the first time in pads
Aug. 12 – Preseason game: Falcons vs. Detroit Lions at Ford Field
Aug. 15 – Dirty Birds Open Practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, 6:30 p.m.(click here for tickets)
Aug. 16 – Falcons must trim roster to 85 players
Aug. 22 – Preseason game: Falcons vs. New York Jets at MetLife Stadium
Aug. 23 – Falcons must trim roster to 80 players
Aug. 24-25 – Joint practices at IBM Performance Field with Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Aug. 27 – Preseason game: Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (click here for tickets)
Aug 30. – Falcons must cut roster to 53-man regular season limit
Open practice dates at IBM Performance Field: (July 29, July 30, Aug. 1, Aug. 2, Aug. 3, Aug. 5, Aug. 6, Aug. 8, Aug. 9, Aug. 10, Aug. 24, Aug. 25; click here for more information
Keep an eye on...
1. O-Line Battles: There will be plenty of competition on the offensive line, at right tackle, left guard and center. It's possible returning starters Kaleb McGary, Jalen Mayfield and Matt Hennessy retain their posts, but they'll be pushed hard all summer as coaches try to find the best starting five and enough blocking/protection to help a talent group of skill players thrive.
2. Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder: The Falcons haven't have quarterback drama in a long time. It has been more than a dozen years since the starting spot was challenged, with Matt Ryan as the obvious, presumptive starter. It sure seems like Marcus Mariota has the best chance to start the season as QB1, but nothing is set in stone. Rookie Desmond Ridder impressed coached during the offseason program and will push for early playing time this summer.
3. New faces = more pressure?: The Falcons pass rush has to generate more of a pass rush than in recent seasons. Has to. That's why they drafted Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone. That's why the brought in Lorenzo Carter, looking for guys who can get after the quarterback without a blitz. The Falcons won't go from 18 sacks to No. 1 in the league, but they're looking for better and flashes of promise from a young rotation with a great opportunity to get after it.
4. Drake London and revamped WR corps: The Falcons drafted Drake London at No. 8 overall for a reason. The dude’s got talent. He won't realize vast potential in one training camp, but it will be interesting to see how he looks in Arthur Smith's offense, melding in with Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson and new guys Bryan Edwards and Auden Tate. This receiver has plenty of high and some deep threats. If they can meld well with the quarterbacks, the Falcons could have a far more explosive offense in 2022.
5. What happens with Deion Jones?: The standout inside linebacker has been recovering from a reported shoulder surgery. Will he come back and be a feature player on the interior defense once he's cleared to practice? Or will he be traded, as some media reports suggest? It’s a development to watch as we move forward.