Cover 9@9: Sanu ready to prove his worth

1. Sanu ready to prove himself. Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who’s slated to replace Roddy White in the offense, is working to learn Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system.

“It’s a lot different from what we ran in Cincinnati, but with a lot of key similarities,” Sanu said. “I’m just trying to learn those differences and master them as fast as I can so that I can get accustomed to them.”

Some of the plays are the same, but things are called differently.

“You’ll hear one play called and you’ll see the play on the sheet, but you’re like ‘no no, that’s this’ and you want to revert to your old system,” Sanu said. “It’s different, but I’m getting used to it.”

2. The Sanu file. Sanu, 26, has caught 61 percent (152 of 249) of his targets in four seasons with the Bengals. He has amassed 1,793 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Sanu was selected in the third-round (83rd overall) of the 2012 draft. He was lured to the Falcons with a five-year, $32.5 million contract.

“Sanu, they kind of overpaid him, but they had to for what they needed as a No. 2 receiver,” a high ranking NFL personnel man told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s a good receiver. He’s not a great receiver. With what they had, they had to get somebody.”

Sanu believes he’ll eventually fit well into the Falcons’ offense.

“I can do a lot of different things well,” Sanu said.  “I can line up all over the field. I just feel like I can be utilized inside, outside or in the backfield or wherever I’m needed to make this offense as best as it can be.”

3. No passing fancy. Sanu, a former high school quarterback, has completed five of five passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns in the NFL.

The Falcons haven’t installed the flanker-reverse-pass yet.

“It’s very new, but if the opportunity comes, I’m going to take advantage of it,” Sanu said. “I’m very ready.”

4. Save the date. The Falcons will host a free kids' day at the at minicamp on June 15.

5. Who's biking to work on Friday? Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff will participate in National Bike to Work Day on Friday.

Dimitroff will ride a loop beginning and ending at the Georgia Dome, covering approximately 12 miles through downtown Atlanta. Riders are asked to register. CLICK HERE.

The ride will start at 7:30 a.m. at Falcons Landing between the Georgia Dome and Phillips Arena on Andrew Young International Boulevard. Dimitroff will lead the route along with members of the Falcons front office and local cyclists.

Dimitroff to host bike-to-work event on Friday photo

The 12-mile route will feature several iconic Atlanta landmarks, including Centennial Olympic Park, Turner Field, Grant Park, the Krog Street Tunnel, and Piedmont Park.

National Bike to Work Day was originated by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956 and is a part of National Bike Month, which is held every May.

Since coming to Atlanta, Dimitroff has been committed to making the city a better place to ride. He recently completed the final leg of the 2016 Ride on Atlanta, covering nearly 90 miles from Athens to downtown in an effort to raise funds and awareness for safer cycling.

Dimitroff has participated in Bike to Work Day each year since 2012.

6. Phase Two. This is the last week in Phase Two of the offseason training program which includes on-field workouts, individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

7. OTAs around the corner. Next week the Falcons will elevate to Phase Three of the offseason program and for four weeks, the will conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted. OTA Offseason workout dates include: May 23-24, May 26, May 31, June 1, June 3, June 6-9. The mandatory minicamp is sent for June 14-16.

8. Construction update. Falcons owner Arthur Blank said on Monday construction of the team's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is back on schedule to open in June, 2017.

Blank said good weather has the construction back on schedule.

"I'm thrilled. We had a great winter, actually a mild winter, and a beautiful spring, so the weather has fully cooperated," Blank said before adding with a smile "I'll take responsibility for that."

Falcons president Rich McKay confirmed workers "started the fall significantly behind."

"Now all of a sudden our pace has really picked up," McKay said. "We're feeling pretty comfortable with where we are. It's still a pretty complex structure with an eight-piece roof ... but I think that right now we're confident with the completion date."

9. Updated depth chart. Here's  an updated -- post- rookie minicamp -- look at the projected Atlanta Falcons depth chart.


WR 11 Julio Jones, 16 Justin Hardy, 17 Devin Hester, 87 Devin Fuller, 18 Jordan Leslie

LT 70 Jake Matthews, 76 Tom Compton

LG 67 Andy Levitre, 71 Wes Schweitzer, 64 Collin Rahrig, 79 Shabaz Ahmed

C   51 Alex Mack, 62 James Stone, 69 Jake Reed

RG 65 Chris Chester, 68 Mike Person, 63 Ben Garland

RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 72 Bryce Harris, 61 Cody Elenz

TE 83 Jacob Tamme, 80 Levine Toilolo, 81 Austin Hooper, 86 D.J. Tialavea, 82 Joshua Perkins

WR Mohamed Sanu, 14 Eric Weems, 15 Nick Williams, 19 Aldrick Robinson, 85 J.D. McKissic, 89 Daje Johnson, 7 David Glidden

QB 2 Matt Ryan, 12 Sean Renfree, 8 Matt Schaub, 1 Matt Simms

RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman, 28 Terron Ward, 35 Gus Johnson, 20 Brandon Wills

FB 42 Patrick DiMarco, 39 Will Ratelle


RDE  99 Adrian Clayborn, 94 Tyson Jackson, 71 Brandon Williams

DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 95 Jonathan Babineaux, 98 Cory Johnson

DT 90 Derrick Shelby, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 92 Joey Mbu, 74 Chris Mayes

LDE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 93 Malliciah Goodman, 52 Tyler Starr


LB 56 Sean Weatherspoon, 50 Brooks Reed, 41 Philip Wheeler, 59 De'Vondre Campbell, 46 Torrey Green,  48 Ivan McLennan

LB 55 Paul Worrilow, 45 Deion Jones, 91 Courtney Upshaw, 53 LaRoy Reynolds, 54 Josh Dawson

RCB 25 Akeem King, 32 Jalen Collins, 29 C.J. Goodwin, 33 Devonte Johnson, 38 David Mims II


NCB 23 Robert Alford, 43 DeMarcus Van Dyke, 34 Brian Poole

LCB 21 Desmond Trufant, 43 DeMarcus Van Dyke, 39 Jordan Sefon

FS 37 Ricardo Allen, 27 Robenson Therezie, 20 Sharrod Neaseman

SS 22 Keanu Neal, 30 Charles Godfrey, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 40 Damian Parms


K 3 Matt Bryant, 1 Nick Rose

KO 5 Matt Bosher

P 5 Matt Bosher

KR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric Weems

PR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric Weems

LS 47 Josh Harris

H 5 Matt Bosher

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Atlanta Falcons to change concession game with $2 hot dogs, $2 cokes and other affordable menu items when they move into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017.

About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.