Five things we learned at Falcons practice

Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, seen here making a catch in the Super Bowl with Eric Rowe of the Patriots defending, does not mind playing preseason games without a game plan.
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Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, seen here making a catch in the Super Bowl with Eric Rowe of the Patriots defending, does not mind playing preseason games without a game plan.

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Here are five things we learned about the Falcons on Thursday:

1. While practicing for about one hour, 40 minutes in shorts rather than pants, the team focused on ball security and third-down situations ahead of Sunday's exhibition game at Pittsburgh. Coach Dan Quinn said that once again, the team is not installing game plans on either side of the ball, although that will change next week.

2. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu doesn't mind going without a game plan. "You just go out there and run your plays, and do your assignment, work on your craft and keep getting better," he said. "It's more like you're perfecting your craft. When you're not game-planning, you're just competing. Everything is unexpected.

3.  Running back Devonta Freeman remains in the NFL's concussion protocol, and did not practice Thursday. He will not play Sunday

4. The Falcons will not hesitate to play young guys. Some teams may not do that in the hopes that if they don't show up on much game tape they will be easier to pass through waivers so that the Falcons might be able to sneak them back onto the practice squad later. "The young players, we are going to play them. We're not going to hide them," Quinn said. "Whether they're here on our team, our practice squad ... or on another roster, if that exposure allowed their career to extend on another 53 or another practice squad, our staff would be pleased that we made a difference for that player.

5.  Pro Bowl center Alex Mack continues to impress, and may be even better than the Falcons thought when they signed him last year. "We felt the speed that he had as a center who can climb and sustain on the next level. Probably the thing I didn't have an appreciation for is the finish that he plays with. He goes all the way through the whistle," Quinn said. "Here's a 310-pound guy who can really run and sustain on a linebacker or a safety down the field, and that's not an easy thing to do ... I probably realized in training camp last year when this battle was taking place between Grady Jarrett and Alex Mack, two guys that have wrestling backgrounds that don't back off."