Minicamp update: Secondary shines in first practice

Defensive backs waiting for their turn in the one-on-one drills. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Defensive backs waiting for their turn in the one-on-one drills. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons first practice of minicamp is in the books. It went exactly 2 hours, 5 minutes.

Falcons coach Mike Smith used a message from former David Lipscomb coach Don Meyer in his talk to the team Thursday night practice.

He noted that there were three things that you can never work too hard on:

1. Attitude

2. Effort

3. Technique

Here are some of the highlights from the Friday morning practice:

* Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon lined up at strongside linebacker. He was nicknamed the “Baby Lion” by Mike Peterson and was seen carrying his mentor’s helmet to the locker room.

* Cornerback Dunta Robinson lined up on the left side and Brent Grimes and Christopher Owens alternated on the right side. “It went pretty good,” Robinson said about his first practice with the Falcons. “There were a couple of mental errors. I’m still trying to learn the new defense. But that’s a part of it.”

* Rookie wide receiver Kerry Meier looked strong and powerful while running his routes.

* The defensive secondary, which has been revamped, managed five interceptions.

45 comments Add your comment

Matty Ryan's Hair

May 7th, 2010
1:32 pm

Chea Chea Chea

Chop Buster

May 7th, 2010
1:36 pm

Well it’s good to see our secondary picking off Matt in camp so he can correct those things before the real games begin.

Marcus

May 7th, 2010
1:36 pm

good job …. couple misplaced comments. For this:

“It went pretty good,” Robinson said about his first practice with the Falcons. “There were a couple of mental errors. I’m still trying to learn the new defense. But that’s a part of it.”

the way it reads is that the quote is credited to [Dunta] Robinson but by appearance, it is grouped with the previous statement regarding Weatherspoon. Which one is it?

waynester

May 7th, 2010
1:37 pm

DLed
Can’t thank you enough for being our eyes and ears…
I’v been assuming that D Robinson would line up on the left since Grimes had such success at R Corner– good to get confirmation.
Why “baby Lion”? Good to see the rookies toting helmets and pads, learning the pecking order…
Awesome news on Meier–we really need a couple of these young WRs to step into the breach–what about Wolfe and the 2 WRs you reported on this morning getting tryouts?
Sorry for all the questions, but thanks in advance for your response(s)…..

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

May 7th, 2010
1:41 pm

did ryan throw all of the interceptions ? is Douglas participating ?
thanks for the great coverage !!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 7th, 2010
1:42 pm

Marcus — It was Robinson. Moved it to the right place.

Waynester — Thanks for the comments. It was a crisp practice for mini-camp. Baby Lion as in one day he’ll be the Lion King? Running the whole Jungle and all? I don’t know. I’ll check with Mike Pete to get his rationale. Meier looks legit. Big ol’ wrists. Looks like he can snatch it down. Hate to be the poor nickel back across from him in the slot. Will get a better read of the rest of WRs at this afternoon practice. But the Brandyn Harvey kid from Villanova was physically impressive. He’s a big dude at 6-4, 205.

D Money

May 7th, 2010
1:43 pm

D-Led– Don’t you mean Robinson is on the left side and Grimes and Owens on the right? I know its only minicamp but I think Grimes served the team better on the left and should back up Robinson.

NCFalconFan

May 7th, 2010
1:44 pm

I know it’s just minicamp, but she we be worried about RYAN and his 5 INTERCEPTIONS?

D Money

May 7th, 2010
1:47 pm

My bad D-Led. I meant to ask isn’t Robinson on the right and Grimes and Owens on the left?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 7th, 2010
1:47 pm

SOUTH GA DAWG — Most of the picks were back the backups.

D-MONEY — Got that worked out DRob on LEFT. GRIMER and CO on the RIGHT. (Grimes played much better on the right last season).

NCFalconFan — They weren’t Ryan’s picks.

Falcons 4 Life

May 7th, 2010
1:53 pm

D led.. How did the D-line look? I know thery’re not in pads but did Jamal line up as the end or the DT?

waynester

May 7th, 2010
1:53 pm

DLed
Then who tossed the INTs? Relived it wasn’t Ryan–that would only prompt an appearance from (shudder) “Choke”….
DMoney
Grimes stats were actually MUCH better on the portside…..

Bird Watcher

May 7th, 2010
1:57 pm

Anyone worried about minicamp interceptions by any qb should stay indoors for fear of skin cancer from the sun.

Sgt. Pepper

May 7th, 2010
2:00 pm

You happen to see Dominique Franks return any kickoffs?

Stevie B

May 7th, 2010
2:17 pm

DOL:
Thanks for the updates. How do the RB’s look? Also, to back up Sgt Pepper, who are with trying out to return kicks or is too soon?

Stevie B

May 7th, 2010
2:19 pm

Got ahead of myself. Just glad to see practices start…. Who is returning kicks?

thejama

May 7th, 2010
2:22 pm

D Led,
Would really appreciate any updates on Peria Jerry and William Moore? Also, what about Brian Williams, and Harry Douglas. Super excited about our secondary coming together and the return of Jerry in the middle. Before his injury he was really making a nice push up front collapsing the pocket.

kelvin davis

May 7th, 2010
2:27 pm

Hey so far we looking pretty solid… I say solid because its just mini camp… I told you Kerry Meier would be a beast… If he keeps working hard he may take Michael Jenkins number 2 spot by the beginning of next year… He catches everything and plays hard.. Keep working Kerry… I’m glad the secondary had a positive first practice.. If Thomas Decoud gets a little better in his coverage he’ll be a pro bowler and Dunta Robinson is getting a feel for things… Harry Douglas is not participating in mini camp along with Brian Williams and Peria Jerry… That was stated from a couple of days ago.. But Weatherspoon looks good in number 56 and I just want us to continue to work hard.. But yes Kerry Meier is a sleeper folks…

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 7th, 2010
2:36 pm

thejama — You’re a little late. Peria Jerry, Douglas and Brian Williams will not be participating in the minicamp (as reported last Sunday). Moore (strained pectoral muscle) and Babineaux are being held out for precautionary reasons. You won’t see Jerry, Douglas or Williams on the field before training camp, per Coach Mike Smith.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 7th, 2010
2:37 pm

Stevie B — Turner appears tob e in great shape. Antone Smith, the former Fla State back, flashed on some nice runs. Might have to keep an eye on him. Ovie caught a couple of passes, too.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 7th, 2010
2:38 pm

Sgt. Pepper and Steve — Franks and a host of others were fielding punts and kicks prior to practice.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 7th, 2010
2:39 pm

Bird Watcher — You’re very wise!!!

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Big-money

May 7th, 2010
3:23 pm

D-Led, Any word on Garrett Reynolds and the new OG & Center we drafted early on in this year’s draft? Which ones look like keepers and/or contributors?

Big-money

May 7th, 2010
3:26 pm

D-Led, Not to pick on you cause I know you just wanted to put up a quick update, but shouldn’t a blog entry about the secondary include some information about the safeties?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 7th, 2010
3:27 pm

Big-money: I did spend some time over with the Oline this morning. Garrett Reynolds lined up at 2nd team RT. Mike Johnson lined up at second team left guard. Joe Hawley lined up a third team center.

GMAN

May 7th, 2010
3:36 pm

like i said before the kid antone smith will be the new j. norwood, only better. tough strong fast, and can run between the tackles, mark my words theyll probably do something to keep him off the practice sqad this year.

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Zippydodaday

May 7th, 2010
4:19 pm

D-Led What’s the word on Jamal A? Hows is he looking on the field??s this the year we finally give him his walking papers?

now that's funny

May 7th, 2010
4:39 pm

We need more speed on O. Harry Douglas can’t walk, Jerious will be gone for the year after the first game, and Michael Jenkins runs a 4.9 40. No deep threat, do home run hitters on O. Expect more picks.

now that's funny

May 7th, 2010
4:39 pm

Sorry: no home run hitters on O.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 7th, 2010
4:40 pm

Big Money — Not really. Safeties a non-issue with William Moore out. We’ll get to the safeties. Just one practice Big Money. Got spread the love around.

Zippydoday — Jamaal looked great this morning. Someone will have to beat him out.

Zippydodaday

May 7th, 2010
5:14 pm

Thanks for the info D-Led. Hopefully this year will be Jamal break out out year. Lord knows we need it….LOL

South ga boy in the atl

May 7th, 2010
6:05 pm

DOL. When u say JA98 looked good, exactly which position was it at: DT or DE and does Bierman rank a little higher on the DE chart than Sidbury. Is Chauncey Abe’s backup and how did Peter look on the hoof “as it were” Thanks for the info. You do a great job DOL

cwltank

May 7th, 2010
6:16 pm

Moore injury concerns me. He was our 2nd rd pick a year ago, we have debt but he cant produce on the sideline. I hope he gets well, his size & speed is what the Falcons lacked last year.
Also, I agree Mier will produce, he weighs over 220 & is transitioning from a Qb. If he loses 10 lbs & work on his speed, he will be the 3rd or 4th receiver for sure.

JB

May 7th, 2010
8:58 pm

DOL – Don’t you think Norwood should be tried as a WR? He has speed, size, good hands, and is very effective in the open field. He would take less hits from linemen and linebackers. Also, pass protection is not his strength. Charley Taylor, a HOF receiver for the Redskins came out of college as a running back and made a great WR.

falconfaninVA

May 7th, 2010
9:10 pm

I’m with JB, line Norwood up in the slot for a few plays and see what happens. Also, I watched some college highlights of Meier the other day; wow, the guy has great hands. Hope they stay that way at the next level. GO BIRDS!

chris taylor

May 7th, 2010
10:15 pm

Just glad to see everything getting started. Don’t know why some people keep saying we need more deep threats. Ryan is a good QB hopefully on the way to great but doesn’t have overwhelming armstrength. Loses accuracy on very deep throws & the ball seems to hang in the air on those deep ones too. Just keep it within 20-30yds and pound the ball. Ryan needs a Fitzgerald type for those deep ones.

chris taylor

May 7th, 2010
10:24 pm

We can only fix so many things at once. I like the way we started with core players on the OL & the front 7 on D. Improved alot in the secondary which was definately our most glaring weakness. Like Smith’s motto this year too. Get em technically sound Smitty, keep em healthy, teach em the ropes and unleash em.

BigTimeTechFan

May 7th, 2010
11:07 pm

When’s the Saints game? I’m ready

RGO67

May 8th, 2010
12:03 pm

Keep up the GOOOOOD WOORRKK D-LED!!!!

[...] AJC Falcons Staff Writer D. Orlando Ledbetter gives his Mini-Camp Day One Report [...]

Magellan55

May 11th, 2010
12:47 pm

(JB) I have been saying the last couple of years we need to get Norwood the ball more by Swing plays, Screens, and slants across the middle. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to try out Norwood in Douglas’ spot until he can get back on the field. This would also give A. Smith a chance to show what he has out of the Backfield. Maybe he could get some time as a Kick off Returner as well (just speculation).

Magellan55

May 11th, 2010
12:52 pm

Altough I think Norwood’s speed could be a great asset, I don’t think the Falcons OC knows how to utilize the talent the Falcons have. Everyone keeps saying that the Falcons don’t have a Home Run hitter, and lack speed, but I think it starts with the play calling. The calls are too conservative, and very predictable. I don’t feel the Falcons can go deep in the post season as long as we have the same OC. For everyone who wants us to have more weapons for Ryan, it won’t matter if the Defense knows what is coming.

Magellan55

May 11th, 2010
12:57 pm

DOL…do you think Meirer will push Jenkins enough this year to get some time as the #2 WR by mid Season, and if he will be out there in 3 Receiver sets???
Also, will Beirman be the starting R DE when the season starts?