Week One of the Atlanta Falcons training camp is complete. The team has the day off today and will be back to work tomorrow. As the Atlanta Falcons has its eyes set on making the playoffs this year, several key players have been impactful/improving during training camp so far.
One of the players I have been highest on this offseason is UDFA Javian Hawkins. He’s elusive and fast as hell.
During the 11-on-11 scrimmage, Hawkins ran for a touchdown. According to Kevin Knight from “the Falcoholic”, he outran the whole defense doing so.
If Hawkins makes the 53 man roster, he will earn the opportunity to continue to develop and learn under Mike Davis and Cordarelle Patterson. I am rooting for the Louisville Cardinal!
Arthur Smith is making a point of improving Matt Ryan’s speed (in mph) this offseason. Smith had Ryan in speed drills during week 1 of camp.
This new coaching staff is pushing every player to get better, even the best. Our head coach knows that today’s quarterbacks dominate in space. Is this what he is looking for from the traditional, pocket-passer Matt Ryan?
In 2019, Ryan clocked 17mph in practice. It is unclear whether he is still that fast, or Arthur Smith is trying to regain some of his lost speed.
In an interview, the Falcons’ QB stated he only has one goal for this season: to win. Ryan is willing to do “whatever it takes to win games” and said he feels better than he ever has in his career.
Atlanta is all-in on Matt, making it clear that he is the only “constant” in this roster. Every other position is in a state of flux.
AJ Terrell Jr.
Terrell Jr. had his first interception during training camp yesterday.
“AJ Terrell stole possession Sunday and didn’t give it up. The Falcons cornerback jumped in front of a pass from A.J. McCarron and caught it with room to run for what would’ve been a pick 6 in live-action.”Scott Blair, atlantafalcons.com
What does it mean that our CB1 picked off our backup QB in practice? Not much, but this was not Terrell’s only highlight from this week.
Scott Blair reported “He locked horns with Russell Gage Friday in a one-on-one coverage drill, where the offense most always has the advantage. Not in this instance. Terrell completely cramped Gage’s style. He was physical at the line of scrimmage, smothered him down the field, and used the boundary to his advantage, giving Gage zero space to make a reception.”
He is improving and gaining confidence in his role as potential CB1 of this team.
The media confirmed that AJ Terrell has been carrying himself with humble confidence during camp. After making big plays, AJ does not celebrate. He is focused and looking to work and improve before preseason.
Everything reported this week has me feeling good about our first-round draft pick from 2020. He seems to be settling into a leadership role and is improving at a rapid rate.
The giant leap from AJT Jr. is coming.
Last year was a rough rookie debut for Marlon Davidson. He was on the COVID list at one point and suffered a knee injury during our loss to the LA Chargers, which sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Davidson admitted to Scott Blair in an interview he got complacent last year and “caught up in the lifestyle.” He takes responsibility for the problems we had on the defensive line last year. With limited offseason activities, it was hard for the rookie to adapt to the NFL.
This year, he arrived at training camp carrying a renewed sense of optimism and confidence. He arrives early and is ready to work.
Marlon Davidson put on weight during the offseason, which will help tremendously on the DL.
All-Pro DE Grady Jarrett had some kind words to share about the sophomore this week.
“He’s a fireball on that defensive line, bringing the energy. I love playing with him. I can’t wait to see him get that full season under him. He had a rough run with injuries and other things. I’m excited for him. I’m expecting a big year from Marlon.”Grady Jarrett
Key Takeaways from Week 1
- Our defense is better than last year, much better than last year.
- No position is guaranteed (Except Matt Ryan.)
- Arthur Smith, Terry Fontenot and Dean Pees have created a winning culture through discipline, hard work and innovative schemes.