As has become tradition in the Dimitroff-Smith era in Atlanta, the Falcons traveled to a local high school (Peachtree Ridge) and conducted their practice and full-team scrimmage in front of thousands of fans. In many ways, it's just as much a community event as it is a football one.
But since you care about the football part, without further ado I present a quick recap of all the noteworthy info to make its way out of Falcons camp on Friday...
While a good chunk of the event was pretty similar to your standard training camp practice, there were still a couple things of note. As we suspected early on, the three main candidates for kick and punt return duties are Harry Douglas, Dominique Franks, and UDFA James Rodgers.
The Falcons also conducted a series of blitz drills before getting the scrimmage under way, in which the defense got some practice timing their pressure packages and Matt Ryan got thrown into the simulated frying pan. Asante Samuel turned a few heads by jumping a route and picking off Ryan. He's continued to get the best of No. 2 throughout camp.
Kerry Meier also kept up his strong training camp showing, making good catches and showing complete confidence in his knee while running routes. After his first two years were essentially lost due to an ACL tear in camp, that is wonderful news.
The stars of the scrimmage, however, would be DE Lawrence Sidbury and undrafted rookie QB Dominique Davis. Sidbury managed to record a "sack"- though quarterbacks were non-contact players- twice on Friday night. So far, he's shown real comfort in Mike Nolan's new system and has all the tools to take a big step forward this season.
Davis on the other hand made his case to supplant John Parker Wilson as the third-string/practice squad quarterback. On the game's final drive the rookie QB looked poised and calm, delivering accurate passes and reminding us that he was part of an incredibly pass-heavy run n' gun offense at East Carolina.
Coach Smith even had some words of praise:
It’s kind of slowed down for him and he’s done some nice things. He’s got a strong arm. He’s very athletic. He’s a guy we’ll see what he can do. He’s going to get an opportunity to play in the preseason games. He’s been a very pleasant surprise and there’s been a number of guys.
All in all, it's exciting to get the impression that the Falcons once again have a very deep team at multiple positions as we inch closer to the regular season. Live football is just around the corner!