Defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and wide receiver Michael Calvin were the stars of the Falcons Friday Night Lights scrimmage at Peachtree Ridge High School.
Sidbury had two sacks and along with the other defensive ends, he was roaming the field in a hybrid linebacker position. At times, the ends were on the line of scrimmage. Other times, they were up and back in a linebacker stance.
“We have a lot of different looks,” Sidbury said. “It’s simple for us, but we try to make it look complicated for the opposition. You never know what we are going to do. We have a lot of things that we can do. We can bring pressure from every where. You don’t know who is going to be covering. It’s fun. At the same time, it’s a very disciplined defense, too.”
Calvin, an undrafted rookie from California with 4.3 speed, made a nice over-the-shoulder catch from John Parker Wilson. He also caught a nice slant route from Dominique Davis.
“It felt great,” Calvin said. “My speed comes off as deceptive. To get out here and show people that I can take the top off of coverage and actually beat defenders was excellent. It was a good night overall.”
How difficult was the catch?
“It was a pretty tough catch because I had to get both feet in bounds too,” Calvin said. “That was one of the toughest catches that I think I’ve had. Working with [wide receivers coach Terry] Robiskie, we do all of these drills that made that catch that much easier.”
The first-stringers didn’t get too much action, but they were watching.
“The thing that really stood out for me is that you saw how those young guys competed,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “That’s what we wanted to see. You want to see those young guys come out here because they are the future of this team. … It was good to see those guys come out and compete.”
Gonzalez liked the way the defense handled their business, too.
“They are going to make some big plays on defense,” Gonzalez said. “They try to confuse you. They are coming from all different directions and they are physical. They are up in your face. They are going to bump you off the line of scrimmage, which offenses don’t like. I think there is a reason why he’s one of the best coordinators in the league. His defenses are always in the top 10.”
Falcons coach Mike Smith was fine with the media awarding Sidbury and Calvin game balls.
“You can pass out your game balls tonight,” Smith said. “We are going to base our evaluations off of the tape. I did see a number of guys and Lawrence Sidbury was one of them that seemed like he flashed out there and made some flash plays.
“It was good to see Jacquizz Rodgers run the football. I thought Jacquizz ran the ball extremely well. Some of the young receivers had some nice catches. There were some guys on defense who attacked the football in the secondary. That’s the thing that we want to see. We want to see how aggressive these guys are going to be and how they compete when there is not a coach standing right behind them telling them want to do.”
Calvin caught Smith’s eye, too.
“You saw some speed going up the sideline there,” Smith said. “Michael can run extremely well. That was a great catch. That was the explosive play in the scrimmage.”
NOTES: Running back Jason Snelling suffered a lower leg injury and did not participate in the Friday Night Lights event. … Also, the team signed defensive tackle Conrad Obi, who played at Grayson High and Colorado.
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–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog