Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- One of the smarter things the Atlanta Falcons do is open their minicamp to fans.
There's a great atmosphere and a lot of fans out here at the Falcons' complex today as the morning and afternoon practices (today only) are open to the public. That's a great concept because fans are starved for football in May. It also allows the Falcons to build goodwill and it gives the team a nice opportunity to hand out some brochures on season-ticket sales.
More teams should do this, but they don't. Blame it on the coaches. They live in a paranoid world where they fear that someone might see something that ends up costing the team in the fall. That's taking things a little too far.
I'm watching the crowd file in past the media room and I haven't seen any scouts for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints or any other team so far. If coaches are so concerned about "spies," there's still plenty of time throughout offseason workouts to install "top secret" plays. Save them for all the other days that practices aren't open to the public.
But give the fans a little chance to feel involved and get a look at their team. It's only going to help in the long run.
I'm heading out to practice in a couple of minutes and will be back with updates this afternoon.