10 observations from Falcons' OTAs


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- As the Atlanta Falcons returned to the practice field for organized team activities on Wednesday, the biggest buzz surrounded one of the players who didn't have a helmet in hand.

Receiver Julio Jones, who underwent foot surgery last October, joined his teammates for stretching then did some drills on a side field under the watchful eye of the training staff. Jones also ran a few routes on his own and seemed to be fine stopping and cutting.

It's apparently the same routine Jones has followed since OTAs started last week, but he wasn't visible to the media during last week's open session. The Falcons plan to keep Jones out of practice with the intent of having him ready for training camp.

"Julio's been out here all through our offseason program," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "He's working on the side with our athletic performance staff, like a number of guys. ... We've got a handful of guys that have not been cleared to practice. But we're optimistic about all our guys."

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (knee) and Zeke Motta (neck surgery) also completed drills on a side field during practice while defensive tackle Corey Peters (Achilles' surgery) remained sidelined.

Receiver Roddy White was excused as he continues to mourn the death of his younger brother.

Here are 10 other observations from Wednesday's OTAs:

1. Gabe Carimi saw significant reps with the first team at right guard as starter Jon Asamoah rested. Smith said not to read too much into it with the coaches just getting a look at different combinations.

2. Desmond Trufant spent the majority of the day at right cornerback.

3. Tight end Levine Toilolo did some light drills but continued to sit out the bulk of practice with an undisclosed injury.

4. Rookie Dez Southward worked at strong safety with the second unit as Kemal Ishmael worked at free safety.

5. Offensive line coach Mike Tice pulled right tackle tackle Ryan Schraeder aside to emphasize technique related to footwork. The pep talk worked as Schraeder held his own against pass-rushers late in practice.

6. Cornerback Josh Wilson missed what looked to be a sure interception down the right sideline on a pass from Dominique Davis to Bernard Reedy. Someone yelled for Wilson to do 100 pushups.

7. Quarterback Matt Ryan stumbled to the ground after one play. It was unclear what happened and it didn't seem to be from contact. But he brushed himself off and got back at it.

8. In the nickel defense, Malliciah Goodman and Tyson Jackson did a twist up front with Goodman at end and Jackson inside at tackle. They applauded each other after the play because it seemed to work like a charm.

9. Jake Matthews nearly ripped Tyler Starr's jersey off during 2-on-1 drills with two offensive linemen against a pass-rusher.

10. Terren Jones seemed to take advantage of his reps as the second-team left tackle with Lamar Holmes absent due to a death in the family.