Smith has Falcons working at right tempo

July, 27, 2008
7/27/08
8:40
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

 
 AP Photo/John Bazemore
 Coach Mike Smith is balancing physical work and teaching at Falcons training camp.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Matt Ryan threw the ball well at times, Roddy White made some nice catches and Michael Turner looks like he's ready to be a feature back.

But want to know the most impressive thing I saw in Atlanta's camp the last two days?

It's the way coach Mike Smith is running practice. It's nothing brand new or shocking. What it is is a nice collection of ideas from every head coach Smith, who never has been a head coach before, has worked with in his 26 years of coaching. Smith has taken the best of the bunch and combined them into the most balanced training camp schedule I've seen in recent years.

He doesn't have his players out there banging too hard and running the risk of injury. And he's not going too lightly on a group that certainly needs plenty of work. Smith is playing it straight down the middle.

He's using team periods where the players go very hard and sandwiching them around individual drills and walkthrough times when the coaches are doing most of the work. That's a smart move because Smith isn't going to wear his team out in training camp and he's also getting a lot of teaching done. There's enough physical activity to get the team ready for the season, but there's not too much.

More than anything, Smith knows he has a young roster that's not spilling over with talent, and he knows he has to have the roster healthy as possible for opening day.

Monday, the tour of the NFC South continues. I'll be at Tampa Bay's camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports, watching out for Brett Favre.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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