5 lessons from the first weekend of training camp

 Coach Mike Smith believes the opening of training camp is 'one of the best days of the year'. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Coach Mike Smith believes the opening of training camp is 'one of the best days of the year'. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – The pace has been moderate at the outset of training camp, but things will pick up Monday as the Falcons moved into padded practices for the week.

Over the first three days and  six practices here are five observations:

Running back Michael Turner is actually running a pass route on this play. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Running back Michael Turner is actually running a pass route on this play. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

1. RUNNING BACK MICHAEL TURNER IS MUCH LIGHTER THAN 244 POUNDS: Turner is still listed as weighing 244 pounds on the roster.

“He wanted to come in a little trimmer,” running backs coach Gerald Brown said. “He’s done that. The work that he did in the offseason is paying off for him.”

He’s also done a pretty good job catching passes.

“I know that’s one thing that he has been working on,” Brown said. “We spend as much time as we can catching the ball. He’s made some really good catches in camp.”

2. NOT SO SURE JERRY IS READY TO PLAY A GAME: Defensive tackle Peria Jerry proclaimed that he could play a game right now.

“I’m back now. I’m on the field,” Jerry said. “They would have to tell me that I can’t play.”

He was medically cleared by Dr. James Andrews last Monday, but is only taking part in the individual portions of practice.

The Falcons will bring Jerry along slowly and hope that he can get some action in third or fourth exhibition game.

Flowery Branch -  WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE THE NORTH POLE? - Santa and Mrs. Claus, North Pole, GA, who said " there's a 129 days till Christmas", cover up with umbrellas to keep cool while watching the Falcons hot afternoon practice with the heat index approaching 100 on the first day of training camp in Flowery Branch on Friday, July 30, 2010. The Suwanee couple said the temperature difference from the north pole " was a whole lot".  Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

Flowery Branch - WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE THE NORTH POLE? - Santa and Mrs. Claus, North Pole, GA, who said " there's a 129 days till Christmas", cover up with umbrellas to keep cool while watching the Falcons hot afternoon practice with the heat index approaching 100 on the first day of training camp in Flowery Branch on Friday, July 30, 2010. The Suwanee couple said the temperature difference from the north pole " was a whole lot". Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

3. DEFENSIVE END JOHN ABRAHAM MAY BE IN FOR A BIG YEAR: While he didn’t spend a lot of time at the team’s complex over the offseason, Abraham appeared to be in excellent shape.

He trained down in south Florida with Pete Bommarito.

“I did more training this year,” Abraham said. “I wanted to work out with some other high caliber players.”

Abraham also took defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka to train with Bommarito, who  designed some power and strength endurance workouts for Abraham.

“We also had him do a lot of base athletic motions like pass rush,” Bommarito said.

While some of the Falcons were taking mixed martial arts training, Abraham was learning how to wrestle.

“The name of the game with linemen is that we train them like wrestlers,” Bommarito said. “They do so much grappling and so much hand work, with contact and leverage at the point of attack that you can train those guys. I think he caught on very well to it.”

4. WILLIAM MOORE IS FINALLY HEALTHY: Safety William Moore is looking forward to putting his injury-marred rookie season behind him.

“William is doing a nice job,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “He has improved on his communication and that is the thing that our safeties have to do.”

Moore, who has a reputation for being a big-hitter, will get a lot of attention when the Falcons have their first padded practice on

100730 Flowery Branch -  Atlanta Falcons defensive end (55) John Abraham signs autographs for fans after finishing morning practice on the first day of training camp in Flowery Branch on Friday, July 30, 2010.   Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

100730 Flowery Branch - Atlanta Falcons defensive end (55) John Abraham signs autographs for fans after finishing morning practice on the first day of training camp in Flowery Branch on Friday, July 30, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Monday.

“I think he will look better once we get him in pads and out of shorts,”  Smith said.

5. ROOKIE DOMINIQUE FRANKS IS A KEEPER: Franks lasted until the fifth round in the draft because of questions about his cover skills.

In the defensive back drills, he doesn’t look out of place and is moving just as fluidly as the other cornerbacks.

He’s getting his hands on a lot of balls. He dropped interceptions on Saturday and Sunday. After his drop on Sunday, he dropped down on the field and did eight push ups at the behest of linebacker and fellow Oklahoma product Curtis Lofton.

“It’s been impressive,” Smith said. “He’s come a long way in understanding our scheme from the OTAs and the minicamp in May and June.”

TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE

Monday, August 2 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).

Tuesday, August 3 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (closed to the public).

Wednesday, August 4 — Practice 1:30 – 3:40 p.m. (open to the public).

Thursday, August 5 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).

Friday, August 6 — Practice 10:15 – 11:55 a.m. (open to the public)

Falcons Allstate All-Access “Friday Night Lights”

Team Scrimmage at North Gwinnett High School – 7:30 p.m. (open to the public)

Saturday, August 7 — Mock Game at Flowery Branch – 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)

Sunday, August 8 — No Practice.

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48 comments Add your comment

WingMan

August 2nd, 2010
7:14 am

JJ

August 2nd, 2010
7:17 am

Tks Dled. Wow, Mularkey may call some pass plays for our RB’s? Glad to hear about Abe, Turner, Moore and Franks. Who’s looking better, Sid the kid or the Bier Truck so far? Know Robinson had some injury history, pray its nothing!

WingMan

August 2nd, 2010
7:18 am

I might as well give a real comment. Your doing a great job DLed. Keep up the good work. This team is so exciting I can’t wait for the season. While MT is faster and trimmer he has possibly has lost size and power. Not sure. He’s not exactly a Jerome Bettis.

SeenThisB4

August 2nd, 2010
7:28 am

What would have been interesting to know, would have been Who threw the near interceptions that the rookie Franks dropped. Would that have been Ryan?

Wow...

August 2nd, 2010
7:30 am

…these comments keep getting more and more out of place with the Falcons – wait til they at least play a game before annointing them as NFC champs and Super Bowl contenders – they didn’t even make the freakin’ playoffs last year. And there is a very real possibility that they will start the season 0-2 this year. Breath, people, breath slowly…

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Deanna Morre and ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: 5 lessons from the first weekend of training camp http://bit.ly/dthDAS [...]

mountain_jim

August 2nd, 2010
7:40 am

I hear reports of actual screen passes in practice….. wonder what chances are those plays will be in the game plan on Sundays this fall to slow down the rush.

RomeDawg

August 2nd, 2010
8:04 am

We are in for a “Super” year!!!

Paddy

August 2nd, 2010
8:13 am

SeenthisB4…there is alot of negativity built up in you young lady. Why? If the Falcons bother you so much go to the Cooking Network. I am sure they would have something you would like. We fans want to enjoy our team. May I suggest shopping for a new dress. That always seems to brighten my wife’s day.

FalconTransplant

August 2nd, 2010
8:18 am

DOL

What’s the liklihood that Peek was going to make the team before his injury? Loosing out on training camp reps can’t help an undrafted rookie much, any idea how long he’ll be out?

blord

August 2nd, 2010
8:20 am

Santa, I am a very unselfish person. All I want for Christmas is a bunch of rings for my friends currently working hard in Flowery Branch;)

Hamp

August 2nd, 2010
8:52 am

Was at the branch Saturday had a blast with my son and nephew. Harvey made a nice catch over the middle with someone hanging on. I think he will be nice. He just have to do it when the pads go on. I also thought weems looked pretty good.

rekingball

August 2nd, 2010
8:54 am

Does it cost a lot of money for a fan to get into camp and watch the team practice?

blord

August 2nd, 2010
8:55 am

rekingball,
It doesn’t cost a thing. Very fan friendly. Only thing that cost is if you want food or merchandise.

cuz

August 2nd, 2010
8:58 am

Falcons really look good early on I think. I think we are going to surprise many with a Super Bowl run. The team appears to have strived to become better on an individual basis and gelled as a unit. Thta’s what makes for a winner.

alanfalcon

August 2nd, 2010
8:59 am

My G#* people keep it positive, 1st week of training camp just ended, ist week with pads are just starting-PULL FOR EVERYONE SO THE CAMP WILL BE A CHALLENGE FOR ALL AND THE BEST WILL WIN THE STARTING POSITIONS. I hope you know you could be faced with a team like Oakland, St. Louis, Detroit or Buffalo to pull far.

ENJOY BEING A FALCON AND PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE EVER PRESENT LOSERS—-
THE NAYSAYERS.

ToccoaBird

August 2nd, 2010
9:09 am

If you aren’t a Falcons fan go to a TB blog. Dled thanks for the updates.

DC Dirty Bird

August 2nd, 2010
9:11 am

DLed, how does Sid Vicious look? I hear The Beer Man came into camp bigger. Why haven’t I heard anything about Spoon? Is Willy Mo ready to take over at strong safety?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 2nd, 2010
9:31 am

i just hope jerry doesn’t become the greg odom of football. i know he was injured in college and of course last year, so helpfully he takes his time and strengthens up.

Paddy

August 2nd, 2010
9:43 am

Dr. Ken…you being a Dr and all maybe you can make the connection. Good call on the greg odom reference. My take on odom is that when he was 18 yrs old at Ohio State he already looked 57 years old. Maybe his body aged way too fast in his early teens? Good this be true medically Dr Ken? Same theory goes for Jerry!

SeenThisB4

August 2nd, 2010
9:46 am

I guess Santa Claus was there to check on his team of misfits!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 2nd, 2010
9:57 am

agreed paddy, the falcons knew of this situation before they drafted him. jerry is a big guy, so more stress on the knees. hopefully this off-season he’s gotten better. glad to hear moore is doing good too. stay injury free Falcons!!

Joe Tess Fish House

August 2nd, 2010
10:14 am

I won’t go unless to boo

cowboys67

August 2nd, 2010
10:21 am

Please let me us know when they start to hit and tackle that’s what I want to see.

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 2nd, 2010
10:30 am

I find it interesting that the HATERS still waste their “valuable” time reading articles about the Falcons and posting negative comments…… GO GET A LIFE!!!!! read a book, take a class, utilize the time spent here to improve yourself…..

NES

August 2nd, 2010
10:34 am

Jeria is not going to be able to withstand a 16 game schedule and will ongoing issues with either injuries or can’t practice on some days due to soreness. Glad to see D. Franks may be the steal of the draft, he is tall enough to stay with the bigger receivers in the league. All in all, ready to see how team does in pads starting today. oh yea, D.O.L.–you are doing a great job with daily updates! keep up the good work!

waynester

August 2nd, 2010
12:04 pm

Turner isn’t the only one rockin’ a slimmer physique–Check out Smitty–is that a 6-pack he’s working on? Looking good coach….

Paddy

August 2nd, 2010
12:37 pm

Joe Tess….thought you were going to pick a new team to root for now that the Falcons didn’t sign TO? If you are coming back to be negitive, we don’t need you. Try the Bengals, they are going to need you now that TO is there to ruin that squad!

now that's funny

August 2nd, 2010
12:44 pm

How does Harry Douglas look. Is he 100% healthy. We really missed him last yr.

Thomas

August 2nd, 2010
1:05 pm

DLed, Is it real that Norwood is injured or was that a joke?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

WingMan — THANKS!!!

mountain_jim: I can confirm that we have seen some screen passes at training camp.

FalconTransplant — Peek was in a battle for the third TE spot. He’ll need to get healthy first. He suffered a sprained knee and is out for 1 to 2 weeks.

Regkingball — Just the gas money to get here.

Thomas — Norwood has a hip flexor injury.

Ken Strickland

August 2nd, 2010
2:24 pm

I have made OC MMularkey’s refusal to use our RB’s as receivers rather than blockers an issue for over a yr now. It’s so exciting for me to hear that MTurner is working on his pass receiving. That tells me he’s been informed by someone on our coaching staff they intend on using our RB’s more in the passing OFF. That alone will take our overall OFF to a higher level.

Ronnie B

August 2nd, 2010
5:18 pm

Great job so far D Led! One quick note … I think Franks is from Alabama, not Oklahoma.

hiramsaint

August 2nd, 2010
5:18 pm

anything new would have taken your O to a higher level when you are already on the dirt

GAFUNK199

August 2nd, 2010
5:38 pm

Falcon fan living in Dallas Tx,whata the word on the secondary so far in camp??

hiramsaint

August 2nd, 2010
5:42 pm

57 million in injuries

Loyal Falcon

August 2nd, 2010
6:45 pm

I think our defense is going to shock the nfl this season. I think coach Lewis is gonna do a good job with the secondary. Watch out for my boy Grimey (7 int)

bp

August 2nd, 2010
7:24 pm

Norwood hurt again.Imagine that.What a wuss

hiramsaint

August 2nd, 2010
7:54 pm

loyal falcon- i disagree. i think only the falcons fans will be shocked by the D this season

Ken Strickland

August 2nd, 2010
11:25 pm

One thing is certain, and that is the Falcons will have far, far, far more reason to be optimistic about their DEF than the AINTS. The biggest changes, upgrades, adjustments etc, you can claim is bring back FS DSharper for his 16th season, and the signing of FA DE ABrown for his 10th season. WOW!

The AINTS roster is filled with FA’s, as well as UFA’s even the AINTS don’t feel are worthy of becoming starters, which means there won’t be any serious competition for any of your starting positions. You have absolutely no quality depth, while the Falcons are loaded with it. You have as many FA’s(6) on your sorry 25th ranked DEF as the Falcons have on both OFF(3)and DEF(3)combined.

Trust me, in 2010 your beloved 2009 Super Bowl champion AINTS are going to revert back to the 2008 AINTS, and the Falcons are going to help with that collapse.

HIRAMSAINT-Tell me, what are the AINTS going to do about replacing OLB SFujita?

Zone4FalcFan

August 3rd, 2010
10:45 am

hiramsaint – I appreciate your comments. I look forward to how idiotic some of your comments are. I knew New Orleans natives were dumb when they built a wall to try and hold water out of the city but now that the Saints have won the Super Bowl they have lost their minds. Sharper’s knee will probably give out in the Vikings game as he tries to give Favre a cheap shot. Brees will suffer from the Madden curse. Payton will suffer from Vicodin withdrawal. No more Mike Bell. You will see that Bushrod is worse than the recently departed Jamaal Brown.

Sorry but a lucky season doesn’t carry over year after year. Your team is not as talented as you think if you aren’t even ranked #1 in EVERY power ranking. We haven’t even started the season and you guys are falling. Shows that the better team beat themselves both games (Vikings and Colts) and you will see that the very first game of the season as well as the 3rd. You guys beat us by 3 points when Ryan AND Turner were out together. What makes you think you will beat us when we have Ryan, Turner, Douglas, and Meier? Not to mention the absence of Brees’ favorite target: Chris Houston.

Rev Blake

August 3rd, 2010
12:14 pm

Hi Dled! I’ve been on vacation. Did you miss me? Great updates concerning Falcons’ Camp.

Looks like it is past time to name a new second running back. Snelling, perhaps? What about the kid who was injured last year that played for UGA. Can’t recall his name but he was fast as all get out! How is he and is he still on the roster?

Northern Bird

August 3rd, 2010
12:42 pm

D-Led, good article. Keep the insight comming !
I’m getting pretty pumped hearing about Abe’s offseason conditioning.
I can’t wait to see W Moore in an exhibition game..

Go Falcons !!!

Ken Strickland

August 3rd, 2010
1:24 pm

HIRAMSAINT/SEENTHISB4-Come on now. Let’s talk about the 2010 edition of the AINTS and what they’re going to do. You won the 2009 Super Bowl, but this is a new season coming up, and I want to talk about your team and their prospects. I’ll start it off.

1-Although your DEF ended up ranked 25th overall, several of your key DEF players did make key gm changing plays at exactly the right times last yr. HOWEVER, one of those key play makers(OLB SFujita)became a FA and left. As of now, none of your backup UFA OLB’s has been designated as his replacement.

2- Thirty one yr old nine yr vet DE CGrant, your #2 sack leader is also gone, and has been replaced by 31yr old 9yr vet DE ABrown. Since there seasonal totals last yr were virtually identical, what the gain?

3-Your biggest play maker last yr was 35yr old 15yr vet FS DSharper. After requiring knee surgery, the AINTS decided not to offer him a contract and allowed him to enter FA. After he couldn’t find a single team willing to give a look, and after the AINTS were unable to find anyone in FA or on their roster to replace him, they brought him and his surgically repaired knee back for his 16th(SIXTEENTH)yr.

Not one single thing the AINTS have done for their SORRY 25TH RANKED DEF has been an improvement. In fact, what’s been done has only served to make it much worse than last yr. Teams are going to go hard after what is both your strength and weakness, and that’s QB DBrees.

Unlike last yr, we’ll have the weapons and depth on DEF to put QB DBrees on his butt and do more than just make it difficult for you to defeat us. You couldn’t contain our banged up OFF last yr, so you know this yrs new and improved version is going to destroy your even WEAKER AND SORRIER 25TH RANKED DEF.

In 2 gms last yr, your high powered OFF wasn’t the over powering threat to the Falcons you AINT fans thought it would be. While our DEF will definitely be much better overall than last yr, your OFF won’t. And it certainly won’t be able to carry that even SORRIER 25TH RANKED DEF.

Joe Tess Fish House

August 3rd, 2010
2:02 pm

How about trading Jenkins and JA 98 to the Jets for Reevis?

Hamp

August 3rd, 2010
2:42 pm

@Hiramsaint/seenthisb4
YEAH! what ken said! Take that!!

hiramsaint

August 3rd, 2010
6:58 pm

@ ken strickland -SUPERBOWL CHAMPS…thats how

Josh B

August 4th, 2010
7:28 am

Can someone please give me the adress for training camp,I can’t find it anywhere.Thanks!