Atlanta Falcons: 5 things to watch at minicamp

Falcons players gather around head coach Mike Smith for some "coach speak" at the conclusion of a recent team OTA in Flowery Branch. (Curtis Compton,

Falcons players gather around head coach Mike Smith for some "coach speak" at the conclusion of a recent team OTA in Flowery Branch. (Curtis Compton,

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons are set to squeeze in five sessions (two walk throughs and three practices) over the next three days at their mandatory minicamp.

We should get our first offseason glimpses of tight end Tony Gonzalez and defensive end John Abraham, a couple of the veterans who’ve been handling their own offseason workouts.

Here are the five things to watch during today’s two sessions:

  1. 1. Check attendance: It’s mandatory, so the entire roster should be present. If you want a printable roster to take with you CLICK HERE.
  2. 2. Offensive line groupings: The No. 1 area for concern remains the offensive line. The battle for the right guard and left tackle spots will be closely scrutinized. I plan to keep a watchful eye on Vince Manuwai. He’s a strong darkhorse in the crowded right guard competition. A healthy Sam Baker is the leader at left tackle.
  3. 3. Check out Abraham’s  moves: Does he move like Jagger? With Abraham not attending the OTAs, Ray Edwards, Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury received some additional work in the tweaked defensive scheme. Abraham usually works out in Florida and the coaches are fine with his offseason program.
  4. 4. Check out Gonzalez’ moves: Gonzalez will likely be one of the first players on the field catching passes.
  5. 5. Check out rookie Peter Konz:  By the end of the week, we should be able to conclude if Konz will have a shot a cracking the starting lineup. Coach Mike Smith has not been shy about getting rookies on the field, but with the offensive line that has not been the case. The Falcons have elected to develop their draft picks like Garrett Reynolds and Mike Johnson. Baker was the last draft pick to land a starting spot along the offensive line.

Check back in the afternoon, we’ll start posting some updates from the morning session and in the early evening from the second session.

If you are planning to attend, here is some key information:

PARKING INFORMATION:  Free parking is available across the street from the Falcons’ headquarters at Hog Mountain Sports Complex. There will also be interactive games for kids in attendance. Concessions will be available, but no outside food or drink will be allowed, including coolers.

Gates open one hour prior to the start of practice.

TIMES SUBJECT TO CHANGE: All times are subject to change. For additional information regarding changes in practice times or weather delays, please call: 770.965.2752 or visit the Falcons official website.

Here is the schedule:

Tuesday —  Walkthrough 10:45 – 11:45 a.m. (Closed to the public). Practice 3:30 – 5:20 p.m. (Open to the public).

Wednesday – Walkthrough 10:45 – 11:45 a.m. (Closed to the public). Practice 3:30 – 5:20 p.m. (Open to the public).

Thursday — Practice 10:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. (Open to the public).

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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38 comments Add your comment

falcon fan since 66

June 19th, 2012
5:32 am

How about watching how much stronger Matt Ryan is!!

falcon fan since 66

June 19th, 2012
5:32 am

Hey am I first!!??


June 19th, 2012
6:11 am

If Manuwai is healthy, he wins the the right guard spot Then things become a little more easy to settle this line down into a good unit Since the day the Falcons signed him I thought he was the key missing piece


June 19th, 2012
6:18 am

Do your thang, DOL. ditto falconfan66, Let’s see if Matty Ice comes out muscled up like He-Man. LOL.

My thought is that we won’t be able to determine if we fixed our most glaring deficiencies until the reg. season (pass rush, 3rd down defense, diversified offense, pass protection) because we will be vanilla in pre-season and training camp is for ingraining the new system so effectiveness vs. a live opponent isn’t likely.

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution listed five things to watch at Falcons minicamp. The Falcons will hold five minicamp sessions over [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution listed five things to watch at Falcons minicamp. The Falcons will hold five minicamp sessions over [...]

Willie Coyote

June 19th, 2012
7:33 am

I hope that Manuwai, Reynolds, or Johnson take the position outright. I would like to see Konz compete with or be developed under McClure so he can take over fully at center by next season at the latest.

I hope Matt got stronger this off season and is ready to mix it up a little more this year.

The deployment of the secondary and their effectiveness is going to be fun to watch as well; STAY HEALTHY WILLIAM MOORE!!!


June 19th, 2012
7:49 am

One thing about the minicamp, we can have a renewed hope in another sport as the Braves are once again letting our hopes fade away——–Go Falcons !!!!!!!!!!!!


June 19th, 2012
7:55 am

Seems to me that the overall #1 thing to watch is the middle of that soft and slow linebacking unit. Though, I guess with t-shirts and shorts, and no contact, it may be difficult to guage that.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 19th, 2012
7:55 am

falcon fan since 66 – If he lifts a tractor or something we’ll let you know.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 19th, 2012
7:56 am

Paddy — That might be a good call by you kind Sir.


June 19th, 2012
7:56 am

“Sam Baker has to be the leader at left tackle”……let’s break that statement down, shall we? First word “Sam”, a very common surname in 1940’s. Next word, “Baker” – very common english name as well. However, when you put those two names together, you get an absolutely dreadful left tackle that cannot protect Matt Ryan’s blindside nor afford him adequate time to throw the ball.

D man

June 19th, 2012
8:12 am

What to watch for me ? I want to see how Matt and Julio look together. Plus I want to watch the new defensive and offensive schemes. Plus the screen passes.


June 19th, 2012
8:17 am

Jeff Van Note … Jamie Dukes … Roman Fortin … Todd McClure … Peter Konz. If the Falcons have proven anything over the years, it’s that we know how to draft a good Center!

I think another thing to watch for at minicamp is yet another classy, heroic feat by Julio Jones. Perhaps he will finally find the breakthrough cure for cancer or save a child’s scoop of ice cream from hitting the ground. All kidding aside Mr. Ledbetter, is Julio not one of the classiest players in the NFL?

email profiling is wrong

June 19th, 2012
8:24 am

@D. Orlando Ledbetter

“falcon fan since 66 – If he [a "stronger" Matt Ryan] lifts a tractor or something we’ll let you know.”

Very droll. Clearly DOL, you’re firmly in the tank with the team’s PR Department.

Whether you care to admit it or not, Ryan’s got a lot to prove. Four years in, I think he’s gotten about as much play out of his “at least he’s not Mike Vick” image as he can.

Sooner or later, he’s gonna have to grow a pair and lead this team in the playoffs. Being able to consistently throw passes that require arm strength and accuracy (like an elite QB, maybe) would be nice too.

This upcoming season will tell a lot about Matt. Whether the Ryan faithful will acknowledge it remains to be seen. Are his failings still gonna be somebody else’s (OC, porous line) fault? Or is Matt the problem?

What the heck? His biggest asset has always been that he’s the anti-Vick. No matter what, nobody can take that away from him.


June 19th, 2012
8:26 am

thought about getting up at 5 am to be 1st, but anyway, i’m excited about The Falcons this year!!


June 19th, 2012
8:29 am

Baker will be our tackel and he will do just fine.

Jimmy Crack

June 19th, 2012
8:45 am

If McClure goes all out at Center in his last year and Manuwai takes the Right Guard spot immediately by throwing one of our DTs 5 yards backwards on his wallet, that will throw a wrench in Smitty’s plan to have Konz at RG and Hawley at C this season. It will depend on pass protection to see who plays more, but I think Manuwai will make McClure better by lining up next to him and it is my guess that Smitty will have a hard time getting Manuwai and McClure off the field. Win-win.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

June 19th, 2012
9:47 am

Julio is a class act. He comes from a very humble background and his Mom is #1 for sure. Any team would be lucky to have a player like Julio Jones. If the QB can improve his arm strength then Julio wll be a star. If not then Julio will be a decoy for short passes to someone else much like last year.

Big Dude

June 19th, 2012
9:55 am

Basketball is finally over, Baseball is such a bore. Let’s do some serious football dialogue!
Looking for a lot of positive changes this year. New year; New High Hopes!

SW ATL Horned Frog

June 19th, 2012
10:10 am

The make-up of the O line will be critical, since Matt is not the most mobile QB. If he has more time to scan the field, the prime and secondary receivers will be potent weapons.


June 19th, 2012
10:12 am

D-Led, if possible , keep an eye on the other rookies and see if any of them stand out….i.e., Massaquoi ; and Pearcy, etc.

Chub Rock

June 19th, 2012
10:26 am

Matt Ryan dos not look any different to me. He may be stronger but his body looks the same. Matt is just a guy that is not gonna have much muscular definition IMO. Roddy said his passes have more on them so that’s all that counts.

Joe Tess Fish House

June 19th, 2012
10:45 am

I will B there so nows UR chance to call me names 2 my face. Whose man E nuff?


June 19th, 2012
11:21 am

William Moore highlights

I wonder who will shine during this Mini-Camp

Southside Falcon

June 19th, 2012
11:26 am

D-Led I know it will be a stretch, but could you give updates regarding Quizz’s brother progress to make the team? I’m thinking the greatest chance is to make the special teams.

Birdman of Falcatraz

June 19th, 2012
11:38 am

Crazy thought, but seems as if Konz has the size to play tackle with maybe just a little added bulk, if Manuwai looks like he can effectively hold the fort at RG why not throw Konz in the mix at tackle and see what happens. Worst case scenario he pushes Baker to find the demon inside. They always preach versatility on the OLine so what do they have to lose? Unless it is a known that Konz has no ability at the tackle spot, but just because it was not his primary position in college has no direct reflection on that question.

Chub Rock

June 19th, 2012
11:51 am

Hey D has anybody gotten more info on how Lamar Holmes goes through a physical or two and gets drafted without anyone knowing he had TWO broken toes? Did this have anything to do with the shake up in the scouting department? Is the team physician responsible for this screw up down at the Ga. Dept. of Labor looking for work?

old falc

June 19th, 2012
12:58 pm

Enter your comments here

Jeff B

June 19th, 2012
12:59 pm

“Does he move like Jagger?”

What? Are you serious??

old falc

June 19th, 2012
1:00 pm

can’t wait to see how the year plays out

Jean Claude Killy

June 19th, 2012
1:30 pm

Bring it FishBreath,,, You’re a ShellFish Fan….


June 19th, 2012
1:40 pm

Good job D O L can’t wait for season to start

Michael M.

June 19th, 2012
2:52 pm

Matt Ryan is supposed to be stronger and beefed up more this year………has anyone noticed a difference yet ? Has he turned into the Green Monster, Incredible Hulk ?


June 19th, 2012
6:20 pm

Starting to smell Falcons football in the air. The excitement is building toward training camp.


June 20th, 2012
10:36 am

Baker, Blalock, Konz, Manuwai, Clabo equals 321 lb. avg weight. Exchange Baker with Holmes and you have a 328 lb. avg. 300 lb. line is kind of small by today’s standard.


June 20th, 2012
10:40 am

Uh … I can’t bring my own cola or water? Does anyone at the Falcons know how hot it is for the fans?

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