Falcons notes: Practice with Jags runs smoothly

JACKSONVILLE — Working on the two-minute drill, the Falcons’ offense and defense finished their practice with the Jaguars on a high note Wednesday.

Matt Ryan drove the first-team offense down for a late score. He tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez on fourth-and-6 with three seconds remaining.

The Falcons are in Jacksonville to play the Jaguars on Friday night.

Ryan completed eight of 11 passes in the 80-yard drive.

Backup quarterback Chris Redman drove the second-teamers down for a touchdown. He connected with wide receiver Eric Weems for a touchdown with eight seconds left.

“We were efficient and making the smart play in getting the ball down the field,” Ryan said. “In that situation, sometimes you have to throw it away. Sometimes you have to check it down. On the whole, I thought we all did a really good job.”

On the next field over, seconds after Weems scored, nickel back Rafael Bush intercepted Jacksonville’s Luke McCown on the 2-yard line to stop a score.

“It was definitely a big stride, playing a different position,” said Bush, who’s normally a safety. “It was good to finally be able to do my job. That was real big.”

The practice was spirited, but there were no altercations.

“When it’s respectful and you don’t have a bunch of cheap shots, chippiness and all of that, it can kind of take away from an event when two teams come together to work out,” Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio said.

Kelly reports

Tight end Reggie Kelly promptly began to work at the No. 2 tight end position.

Kelly, who signed Tuesday, is expected to provide blocking and help keep the running game rolling. He visited the Steelers, but wanted to play with the Falcons because he still lives in the area and his kids will get to stay in their schools.

After tight end Justin Peelle suffered a severe injury that will cause him to miss some major time, the Falcons worked out Anthony Becht, who had been out of football for a year, and Kelly.

“I still stay in the Gwinnett County area,” Kelly said. “I have a lot of close ties here in Atlanta. That made it, in my mind, a good decision to stay close to home. My kids can stay in school. Also, I can be around my family and not relocate.”

Kelly, 34, played four seasons with the Falcons after being selected in the second round of the 1999 draft. He has 194 career catches and five touchdowns.

Breaking camp

The Falcons plan to break training camp after Sunday’s practice.

They will shift to their regular-season schedule Monday in preparation for the third exhibition game against Pittsburgh, on Aug. 27.

“They’ll all be out of the dorms, except for our rookies,” Smith said.


Defensive end Ray Edwards’ practice regimen has been ramped up. He flowed through one-on-one pass rushing drills Tuesday. ... Linebackers Akeem Dent (left knee) and Robert James (undisclosed) and defensive tackle Vance Walker (ankle) worked out with the training staff. Dent was running on his knee, which is a sign that he didn’t suffer any major damage. ... With cornerback Dunta Robinson out with a hamstring string, it appeared that Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks were splitting his reps. ... The Falcons must cut down to 75 players by Aug. 30. The final roster of 53 must be set by Sept. 3. ... Mercer coach Bobby Lamb attended Tuesday’s morning practice in Flowery Branch. Lamb, who starred as a quarterback and served as an assistant and as head coach at Furman, is set to sign his first recruiting class for Mercer. The Bears will open play in the Pioneer League in 2013.