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, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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. 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. 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. 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. Check out Gonzalez’ moves: Gonzalez will likely be one of the first players on the field catching passes.
- 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
Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.