Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Checking in from Flowery Branch
By Pat Yasinskas
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- I just got finished watching the Falcons practice and doing some interviews. Had a chance to talk with Matt Ryan, Brent Grimes, Brian Finneran and Tony Gonzalez, mainly for our upcoming Camp Confidential segment on the Falcons, but I got a few other notes from them that I'll share in the coming days.
I'll be out at practice again this afternoon, when the Falcons will bring in more than 60 former players, including a bunch from the 1966 team, for Alumni Day. But first, I wanted to share some quick observations from the morning session.
- Gonzalez looked absolutely tremendous out there. Ryan was already very good, but it's going to be interesting to see what he can do with a true pass-catching tight end.
- Roddy White doesn't look like his contract holdout set him back a bit. I saw him and Ryan hook up on one very nice out route.
- I wasn't able to get much of feel for the receiver situation beyond White and Michael Jenkins. With the loss of Harry Douglas to injury, the Falcons are looking for a No. 3 receiver and they just brought in Marty Booker and Robert Ferguson and they've also got the veteran Finneran. I've heard young receivers Troy Bergeron, Chandler Williams, Eric Weems and Aaron Kelly have done some good things. I'll keep an eye on this situation in the upcoming practices and also plan to talk to the coaches to see who's impressed them. I'll give you more of an update once I've got it.
- We heard lots from just about every member of Atlanta's rookie class last year. But one guy, who was relatively quiet last year, seems poised for big things. That's Thomas DeCoud. He pretty much was limited to special teams last year. But he looks like he's locked up the starting safety spot opposite Erik Coleman. The injury to rookie William Moore played some part in assuring that, but DeCoud was outplaying Moore even before the injury.
- The Falcons fully intend to give third-year defensive end Jamaal Anderson every chance to stay in his starting role. But it looks like they're considering all their options. Chauncey Davis got some work with the first defensive line.
I'll be back with more after the afternoon practice.