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Early observations from Falcons' minicamp

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Just finished interviews after the morning session of Atlanta's minicamp.

I had a one-on-one with quarterback Matt Ryan and I'll be posting a column on him later this afternoon. I've got to transcribe the tape and write the column, but I wanted to share a few quick observations from this morning's practice with you first.

Sometimes you can tell a lot by who works with the first team in the first minicamp practice and sometimes you can't. For what it's worth there were a few interesting first-team guys as the Falcons lined up for team drills. Maligned defensive end Jamaal Anderson's still working with the first team. Kroy Biermann lined up as the other starter, but that's because John Abraham, who was in attendance, was held out of practice.

The interesting thing at linebacker was that Stephen Nicholas lined up on the strong side with the first team and veteran Coy Wire worked with the second unit. I'm thinking the Falcons want to give Nicholas, who was dealing with some family issues last season, a shot at winning the starting job.

In the secondary, Chris Houston and Brent Grimes ran as the first team corners and Erik Coleman was paired at safety with second-year pro Thomas DeCoud. Second-round pick William Moore is going to compete with DeCoud for a starting job, but the Falcons started Moore off with the second team.

They did the same with first-round pick Peria Jerry at defensive tackle. Trey Lewis worked with the first team, but it's probably only a matter of time before Jerry's in that spot.

Offensively, there weren't many changes. The offensive line is intact from last year and center Todd McClure, who spent the early part of the offseason at home in Louisiana, was here. McClure's been taking part in conditioning work at the team's facility for the past two weeks.

Harry Douglas rotated in a bit on the first team with receivers Roddy White and Michael Jenkins. In talking with some people within the organization, it sounds like the Falcons are expecting Jenkins to take on a big role this year.

New tight end Tony Gonzalez got plenty of work and seems to already have some chemistry with Ryan. Not sure how much to read into this, but the Falcons mixed Jerious Norwood in with starting running back Michael Turner quite a bit.

All right, that's all for now. I'll be back with the Ryan column in a few hours and I'll be back tonight with more notes from the afternoon practice, which starts at 4:15.