UNOFFICIAL MINICAMPVILLE – In the modern NFL, a player drafted in the top 10 is expected to play.
(NOTE FROM DOL: Well, they didn’t actually say “Bring it On!” I just liked the movie and wanted to post the picture of Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union in each other’s face.)
Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford have changed that dynamic for quarterbacks.
The owners feel that they are paying hefty rookie salaries, so it’s incumbent on the coaches to get the young
quarterbacks ready to play.
You have to give a lot of credit to former Falcons quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for Ryan’s speedy development.
So, it will be interesting to see how Carolina handles Cam Newton, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft from Auburn and Westlake High. Musgrave, now the offensive coordinator in Minnesota, will try to get former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder ready to play.
Some of the Falcons defenders had some thoughts on Newton and they shared their plans to “welcome” him to the NFC South.
“Everybody has to prove their worth in this league,” free safety Thomas DeCoud said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the first pick or if you’re Mr. Irrelevant, you have to prove yourself in this league and make your own name.”
Linebacker Mike Peterson, who is helping to lead the Falcons’ minicamp drills despite the fact that he’s not under contract, has his own view of rookies.
“I love it,” Peterson said. “He’s still a rookie to me. It doesn’t matter what you did in college. When he gets to Carolina, all of the guys are going to tell him to forget what he did in college. Just wash that away because it doesn’t mean [anything] here in this league.”
Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, who’s recovering from two offseason knee surgeries, believes the lockout will definitely stunt Newton’s development. He was able to start as a rookie after going through the offseason program.
“Cam Newton is a very athletic quarterback,” Lofton said. “It doesn’t bode very well for him, not being able to go through OTAs and these minicamps and stuff. It’s a lot and they are going to have to cut the playbook down. As a defensive guy, I kind of enjoy that. It kind of gives us the advantage. But he’s going to bring a lot of athleticism to Carolina’s offense.”
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon opened last season as a starter after being selected 19th overall in the first round. He benefitted from the team’s minicamp and OTAs last offseason.
“We know that guy is elusive and can make a ton of plays,” Weatherspoon said. “I look forward to playing against him. I think competitors always want to play against the best.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog