5 things we learned from Falcons' OTAs

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Falcons  held their ninth and final OTA on Thursday.

All that is left in the offseason program is the mandatory minicamp Tuesday through Thursday. Training camp will start in late July.

Here's what we learned during OTAs:

1. Special teams: Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong is looking to improve the units, which he called "average" last year. They were ranked 22nd in the league in 2015. 

2. Experimentation on defense: Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith looked at several linebacker combinations with Vic Beasley moving to strongside. Philip Wheeler is slated to be his "relief pitcher."

3. The rookie club: One key for the Falcons will be how fast they can get rookies Keanu Neal, Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell on the field. The Falcons want to get faster and drafted these hitters to help improve the defense.

4. Reed, Upshaw: Both former strongside linebackers -- Brooks Reed and Courtney Upshaw -- were moved to defensive end with the coaches leaving no stone unturned in their quest to improve the pass rush.

5. Coleman is up: The Falcons remain high on running back Tevin Coleman, the season-opening starter in 2015. 


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Falcons' offseason spotlight: OG Wes Schweizter, sixth round pick

Falcons offseason spotlight: LB De'Vondre Campbell, fourth round pick

Falcons' offseason spotlight: TE Austin Hooper, third round pick

Falcons' offseason spotlight: LB Deion Jones, second round pick

Falcons' offseason spotlight: SS Keanu Neal, first round pick

Falcons' offseason spotlight: DE/SLB Vic Beasley

Falcons' offseason spotlight: DT Grady Jarrett

Falcons' offseason spotlight: FS Robenson Therezie

Falcons' offseason spotlight: CB Jalen Collins

Falcons' offseason spotlight: RB Tevin Coleman

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