The Falcons granted a reporter from Sports Illustrated behind the scenes access to rookie minicamp.
Here are my five takeaways from the story:
1. Simpson family. Longtime Georgia coaching legend Jess Simpson’s house in Miami was burnt down and they lost all of their belongings. We’ll follow up and see if the fans can help. We send our condolences to one of the nicest guy in the football. (We go back to the Darius Walker days at Buford High).
2. Don’t sit in Matt Ryan’s chair. The quarterbacks were informed not to set in Matt Ryan’s chair. “Don’t sit in Matt Ryan’s chair, he’ll know,” says quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp. “Sit across the table in Matt Schaub’s.”
3. Media training?: They rookies also went through media training from the new vice president of football communications David Bassity. “Bassity’s PowerPoint begins with this phrase: What question do you have for my answer? In other words, Bassity says, “You control the interview.” (Head coach Dan) Quinn, with assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Raheem Morris playing reporter, demonstrates. His blatant deflections elicit giggles, but his delivery is polished and pure.” (So they are teaching them not to answer questions? No way!)
4. Access planned out. Quinn planned out all of the “access” as the team really maintained control kind of like the planned fight and parade that appeared staged when they were Hard Knocks.
5. Cartoons are fun. As head coach of the NWGYFL Smyrna Spartans, one of our best audibles was “Sponge Bob.” If the defense started leaking outside to handle the myriads of sweeps and reverses from Double-Wing, the QB was trained to call “Sponge Bob” and tap the center’s butt for the QB sneak up the middle of the field. Scored a bushel of touchdowns. Got a kick out of the Falcons using “Tiny Tunes” and “Flintstones” as calls. The calls where changed for the article, but the point was that communication is key.