But the younger players should have more room for growth.
Last season, Davidson, without the benefit of offseason activities, couldn’t get on to the field much after he was drafted in the second round out of Auburn. He played in eight games and had eight tackles.
He played 132 defensive snaps (12%).
“It’s hard enough to be a rookie in the NFL,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “Then dealing with everything, it was much harder for a lot of people around the world and in this country dealing with the pandemic.”
Davidson, who’s listed at 6-foot-3 and 278 pounds, is getting a clean slate with the new staff.
“So, it was an unusual offseason,” Smith said. “Everybody gets a fresh start here. Marlon has been working hard. All of these guys just want to improve.”
Cominsky, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, played in 13 games last season and made one start. He finished with 28 tackles, three tackles for losses and three quarterback hits.
Cominsky, who played at Division II Charleston (W.Va.) and was a fourth-round pick in 2019, played 398 defensive snaps (37%).
Tuioti-Mariner will play outside linebacker. He will play against the run and sometimes he’ll drop in coverage.
He played in 16 games last season and made 31 tackles and had five quarterbacks hits, two pass breakups, a sack and a forced fumble.
Tuioti-Mariner was signed as an undrafted free agent from UCLA and is product of former coach Dan Quinn’s Plan D (developmental) program.
In one of the few highlights from 2020, Tuioti-Mariner wrecked the Raiders in Week 12 and was named the NFC’s defensive player of the week. He finished with six tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in the 43-6 win over the Raiders.
The new staff would like to see more of that player.
In the fifth round this year, the Falcons drafted defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham, a four-year starter at Texas, and outside linebacker Ade Ogendeji, who’s being groomed at outside linebacker.
Other defensive linemen on the roster include Chris Slayton, Zac Dawe, Eli Ankou, Deadrin Senat, Jonathan Bullard, Olive Sagapolu, Barkevious Mingo and Kobe Jones.
Third-round pick Jalen Mayfield (68th overall) was the highest draft pick signed.
The Falcons also signed fifth-round picks Ta’Quon Graham (defensive line), Ade Ogundeji (outside linebacker) and Avery Williams (cornerback), and they signed sixth-round pick Frank Darby (wide receiver).
The Falcons still must sign first-round pick Kyle Pitts (tight end), second-round pick Richie Grant (safety) and fourth-round picks Drew Dalman (center) and Darren Hall (cornerback).
3. Falcons Moms Academy: The Falcons Moms Football Academies will hold a sessions for youth football moms June 22 and one for high school football moms June 23 at the Home Depot Backyard. The sessions are intended to provide moms with information on youth and high school football fundamentals and development.
Speakers will include former Falcons players, high school football head coaches and people from the Taylor Hooton Foundation. Elisha Jarrett will speak at the Wednesday session for high school moms.
4. Injury report: Smith would not confirm any injuries, but said if they were major injuries he would.
Running back Mike Davis, wide receiver Russell Gage, right tackle Kaleb McGary and tackle Matt Gono were not present during the open OTA on Monday.
“The whole objective is – and I know I sound like a broken record here – is to make sure we’re as healthy as we can be going into the summer,” Smith said. “You don’t want people to have nagging injuries to linger on. We want to be as healthy as we can so guys can be in the best shape they can be in, come training camp.”
He wouldn’t clarify is any players were injured, just resting or rehabbing from surgeries.
“They’re at different phases,” Smith said. “Everybody has different things going on. Some people we want to focus on a certain area. Certain guys we’ve wanted to put more in the weight room, some guys wanted to get them alternative conditioning, all different things going on.”
So, all should be expected to be present when training camp starts in late July.
“If there was something major, not to be evasive, I know what you guys are asking and I know what the rules are with the injuries, but if there was something major, we would let you guys know,” Smith said. “I’m not going to play that kind of game with you guys. It would be well documented.”
5. Offseason program: Smith is not putting much stock in the offseason program.
“It’s just part of it,” Smith said. “I take the spring, take it with a grain of salt. We’re just trying to improve their understanding of the schemes and what the objective is. I just don’t get too worked up over spring and OTAs and minicamp.”
6. Getting to know Grady. Smith is working on building relationships with all of the players.
“It’s been really fun getting to know Grady (Jarrett),” Smith said. “Obviously, I had a lot of respect for him from afar. We played against him two years ago, getting ready and watching him be successful, but I really like the way he handles himself.
“We’ve had some great conversations, and just like with every player here, you’re just trying to get to know him, hope they get to know me. But I’ve been very pleased with what Grady has brought to the table so far.”
7. Ridley at APS: Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley worked with Atlanta Public Schools as he recently visited both Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy and Lenora P. Miles Elementary school, where workers from Mercedes-Benz USA distributed ice cream to students to celebrate persevering after a challenging pandemic year.
“Just going out and catching up with a bunch of the kids,” Ridley said. “Some of them had this big test. I was just giving them some confidence. I brought out some ice cream. Brought out some cars so they can check it out and get in the cars and take some pictures, just to (help) them get out of school for 30 minutes and have a little fun.”
8. Football and fashion collide: Former Falcons players, cheerleaders and Freddie Falcons and a surprise guest will take part in Fashion Play to benefit the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta on Wednesday
The event will be hosted by former wide receiver Harry Douglas, running back Mike Davis, long snapper Josh Harris, defensive lineman Grady Jarrett and cornerback Isaiah Oliver virtually to talk fashion and football.
“I’m thrilled to be hosting Fashion Play,” Douglas said. “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta is doing amazing work in our city, and as an Honorary Big Brother I try to do whatever I can to promote their mission. We’ve had great response from other alumni players and I’m excited to see everyone on the catwalk on June 16.”
For 61 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta has transformed the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in our community through a proven youth development strategy: one-to-one mentoring.
“It’s super important to pour into someone and to be encouraging to somebody because we all have bad days,” Jarrett said. “There are people, who when you’re down, bring you back up and keep you level-headed. It’s super important that the things that are poured into you, you pour into somebody else because all knowledge is here to be shared.”
D. Orlando Ledbetter, Esq is the award-winning Atlanta Falcons beat writer for the newspaper, has been on the staff since 2003. Every day D. Orlando strives to provide inside in the Falcons and the NFL. He finds the most joy in providing insight into the team, the coaching moves, the offseason business moves, the draft and the games.