FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons finished their morning practice around 10:57 a.m. this morning.
It was the last open practice for the public to attend.
The afternoon session is set for 4:45 p.m. and is closed to the public.
Falcons coach Mike Smith and the coaching staff took a long look at cornerback Dominique Franks against the Jaguars, but they are not ready to declare a winner in the nickel back competition.
“He was definitely one of the guys that we wanted to get a longer look at in terms of the number of snaps,” Smith said. “He handled some things well. Again, it’s a learning experience. In week one, he didn’t get that many exposures. This week he did. He showed up on the stats chart.
“But in terms of the competition between he and Christopher Owens, all precincts have not reported. It’s still open.”
Here’s some of the highlights from practice:
–Garrett Reynolds and Mike Johnson are competing for the starting right guard spot. Reynolds is getting most of the work with the first-team. But all of the precincts are not in for this one, either.
“Right guard is still open as well,” Smith said.
–Defensive end Ray Edwards will continue to get his practice time increased and the team will make a decision later in the week on if he will play against Pittsburgh on Saturday. (BEAT GUY OBSERVATIONS: He’s looking good in practice and appears ready for action. But we’ll just wait for Smitty’s decision later in the week.)
–Wide receiver Roddy White didn’t practice. He took a helmet shot to his thigh against Jacksonville and suffered a minor bruise.
–Quarterback John Parker Wilson, who was out with a concussion, returned to practice.
– Defensive tackle Vance Walker, who was out with an ankle injury, returned to practice.
–Center Todd McClure, who received some time off from Smith, returned to practice.
“Smitty has always taken care of us,” said McClure, who’s set to enter his 13th season in the NFL. “Especially, the older guys. When they give you a rest, you don’t fight it.”
–Quarterback Matt Ryan was sharp in the seven-on-seven passing drills.
–You can tell that rookie running back Jacquizz Rodgers is starting to pick up the offense. He’s playing much faster. He was zipping around the field and beating linebackers on his pass routes during the seven-on-seven session. The beauty of Rodgers is that he’s going to be tough to cover in the passing game and he can run the ball between the tackles.
– One of the defensive backs got busted by defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder for looking at the quarterback when he was in man-to-man coverage. His eyes are supposed to stay with the man he’s covering. You couldn’t tell who the culprit was. Probably one of the young guys.
–Matt Hansen, a rookie free agent safety from Rhode Island, had two interceptions. He picked off Wilson and later jumped a pass thrown by Adam Froman.
–Linebacker Youri Yenga, a rookie free agent linebacker from Southern Methodist, had a rough day with his assignments and drew the ire of BVG. Yenga later was cramping and got some attention from the training staff.
–Wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie kept the receivers after the practice. He had his two former college quarterbacks, Tim Buckley and Kerry Meier, throwing passes to the receivers.
–The offense worked on moving the ball out from inside their on 5-yard line. On one play, they were about to get the defense to jump offsides.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog