Atlanta Falcons: First full practice in pads

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch with your Falcons report.

The Falcons had their first full squad training camp practice in pads Sunday and coach Mike Smith was pleased with the results. No one got hurt.

“At the end of a play, you want to see all 22 guys on their feet,” Smith said.

Players are getting acclimated to practicing in pads after seven months off. The team will begin to fully install offensive and defensive schemes. According to Smith, this week’s practices will focus on game situations and lead up to the team scrimmage Friday at Peachtree Ridge High School in the annual Friday Night Lights event. Players have an off day Wednesday.

There was some hitting Sunday, mostly between the offensive and defensive lines.

“I thought, as you normally see on the first day of pads, there are going to be some guys that really stand out,” Smith said. “And there were. You’re always concerned on that first day in pads that guys start a little too fast so we tried to ease them into the practice.”

Smith declined to be specific about what players caught his attention.

On the NFL Network

The NFL Network was at Flowery Branch and aired several live cut-ins of Sunday’s practice.

Smith said he was not concerned about giving away secrets to the competition.

“They network has a pretty good understanding of what can be televised and what can’t,” Smith said. “… We have parameters set as far was what periods we would like them to film.”

Robinson eager to blitz

Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson is excited about his role in the defense.

Early in camp, new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is basically playing musically chairs with the cornerbacks flopping them from the right and left side. Robinson is also moving inside to play slot receivers as the team’s nickel back.

“I get to roam a little bit, make some tackles, blitz the quarterback and do a lot of different things,” Robinson said. “It allows me to be the versatile player that I am. It’s a lot of fun for me to be able to move from side to side, play corner and play nickel. It’s a very versatile defense and we feel like we have the athletes to play in this defense.”

Robinson blitzed from the nickel back position early in his career. He had three sacks in 2004 and one in 2005 with Houston.

When blitzing off the edge as a nickel back, Robinson said the element of surprise is key.

“You have to play with the quarterback by not showing your blitzes,” Robinson said. “When you’re not blitzing, you show him a blitz look. When your number is called, you showed so many times that when you do come nobody is going to pick you up. It’s kind of like a cat and mouse game.”

Robinson believes the overall secondary can improve under Nolan’s tutelage.

“We have to be aggressive to the ball when the ball is in the air,” Robinson said. “As long as we continue to work together, safeties and corners, I think we are going to be fine. So far, it’s been a lot of fun learning this defense. We are making a lot of plays on the back end.”

Celebration hero

Rookie tight end Aron White finished his University of Georgia career with 34 catches for 512 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is well known for one particular touchdown catch – a reception that his Falcons teammates are slowly becoming aware.

In the closing seconds of the first half in a game against New Mexico State last season at Sanford Stadium, White caught a touchdown from Aaron Murray, ran out of the side of the end zone, had to leap over a piece of band equipment and disappeared into the famed hedges. It took several seconds for teammates to help White out of the shrubbery for the celebration to ensue.

“It’s funny because about once a week one of my Falcon teammates will say ‘I didn’t know that was you. I’ve watched you on YouTube. I saw you on [ESPN’s] SportsNation 101 Celebration Fails,’’’ White said. “I say ‘I appreciate that. I play football, too.’ At the same time, it’s all good, it’s all fun. It’s a memory I’ll have forever and it doesn’t embarrass me or make me feel bad.”

More snaps in practice

While the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement has limited the number of practices and the intensity of the workouts, the Falcons staff has countered with an adjustment to its schedule.

According to Smith, he and his staff are getting more snaps out of each practice in an effort to evaluate the roster.

“Last year, even though they changed the rules on us, we weren’t able to make the adjustments that we felt like we needed to do in terms of our practice schedule and how we were going to do things,” Smith said. “We’ve added snaps … because we’re not having two [full] practices [a day].”

Compiled by Chris Vivlamore and D. Orlando Ledbetter.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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21 comments Add your comment


July 29th, 2012
7:48 pm

you don’t want to see all of the defense on their feet if the O line is doing their job


July 29th, 2012
8:09 pm

This defense will be wore down by the forth quarters..

See: Giants Meadow Land Fal-cons epic playoff collapse 2011…

Captain Obvious: “If you can’t score points you can’t win the ones that count!” [4-10]


July 29th, 2012
8:10 pm



July 29th, 2012
8:15 pm

here’s to those who wish us (falcon’s)well ,AND THOSE WHO DON’T CAN GO TO BOUNTYGATE HELL ! WHOOP’S

Birdman of Falcatraz

July 29th, 2012
9:45 pm

On the NFL network live coverage they talked about losing our only tough defender in Curtis Lofton. I hope that the LB’s step up and prove everyone wrong about that. Man do we need Akeem Dent to be the real deal.

SeenThis B4

July 29th, 2012
9:54 pm

@Real Falcan’ts Fan: Here’s to 4th and six inches and getting dropped for a loss!


July 29th, 2012
9:59 pm

Looking forward to seeing Mr Robinson introducing himself to a few QBs. ONE thing he can do is hit. Also glad he is taking the demotion so well

Michael M.

July 29th, 2012
10:02 pm

Falcons won’t have to convert on 4th downs this year since the offense won’t be limited to conservative play as in the past several years when they had full of mularkey.

FAILCANTS are a joke

July 29th, 2012
11:14 pm

Saints dominate you every year…actually becoming boring, besides easy victories for a so-called rivalry….must be terrible to not have a SB ring…pity…Saints wouldn’t know…


July 30th, 2012
12:18 am

Bierman is a worthless piece of crap. All hype…no produce. He’s a pansy. Taken up a roster spot. Worthless. A waste. A jerk.


July 30th, 2012
1:22 am

@SeenThisB4….to come on a Falcons Blog and try to whip to life your saints banter after what your team has been through Is just sheer foolishness and wishful thinking and very elementary….If the Falcons had done what your team has done,I wouldn’t type the first letter on a Saints blog….but I’m not you am I ?

[...] also said that new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s new scheme is giving him the freedom to roam around the field and blitz more often (via The Atlanta [...]

[...] also said that new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s new scheme is giving him the freedom to roam around the field and blitz more often (via The Atlanta [...]

SeenThisB4's Mom

July 30th, 2012
7:45 am

Seen! (yelling down the basement to him). Get off my computer and get ready for Arts and Crafts Camp! I mean it Seen! Get going or your father (whomever he is) will have to get after you too. It’s water color painting day again and you know how much fun that is. Seen! Get going. Are you on my computer again bothering those people in Atlanta. Shame on you. A 12 yeear old should know better! Seen! I mean it! Get going!


July 30th, 2012
10:07 am

NativeBird, your description of Beirman fits you well, now go and become a productive citizen as you surely have no knowledge of the game.


July 30th, 2012
10:14 am

To all of u in NO that think that the Saint’s is a better
team,look in your daddys closet,Ibet u will find the
brown grocery paper bag he use to ware over his head
in the games.If u take the tlme 2 look at the records
NO ,has lost more games from my beloved Falcons.

Big Ray

July 30th, 2012
10:51 am

A Mike Nolan defense = a Drew Brees nightmare.


July 30th, 2012
11:37 am

Whats the depth chart at WR is it posted anywhere?


July 30th, 2012
12:12 pm

Really liked what I saw yesterday up there on the Hill. Thanks for the shout out earlier D Led! :) I talked about the O- Line yesterday but I’ll go into a bit more depth about what I saw. QBs- Ryan is Ryan. Redman is Redman. JPW is..ok. I like the Davis young man. He just needs to work on his touch. RBs- The Ewing kid looks the part. I think he could blossom into something good. WRs- We know who our top 3 are. Who I liked was Kerry Meier. They HAVE to find a way to get him on the field. He’s got talent. I wish him a healthy year. O-Line- I dont like Reynolds at RG (only bc of his size, should be a T IMHO) but he looks improved at the position. I think the entire line will make strides this season. I LOVED the D. Nolan has them playing a lot more aggressively. Didnt see one play where someone wasnt attacking. The fun part was seeing He definitely has some exotic stuff in the mix I think people are gonna like. I know I will. :) @ Big Ray Yes it

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 30th, 2012
12:33 pm

The depth chart has not been released. But here’s my unofficial depth chart —

[...] Atlanta Falcons: First full practice in pads August 4th, 2012 | Author: admin Tweet Atlanta Falcons: First full practice in pads The Falcons had their first full squad training camp practice in pads Sunday and coach Mike Smith was pleased with the results. No one got hurt. “At the end of a play, you want to see all 22 guys on their feet,” Smith said. Players are getting … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]