With playoffs out of question, Falcons ‘competing with one another’

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Falcons head coach Dan Quinn addresses the status of rookie offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

The Falcons held their first practice since being eliminated from the playoffs Monday and coach Dan Quinn expects the team will continue to ‘compete and battle.’

The Falcons (3-9), Bengals (1-11) and Lions  (3-8-1) were the first three teams eliminated. They were joined by the Cardinals (3-8-1), Giants (2-10) and Dolphins (3-9) on Sunday.

“What’s there to play for?” Quinn said when asked about the morale and pulse of the team. “I’ve never understood that question. We’re ball players. We going to compete and battle for it and see how good we can get. These guys love football, love playing and competing with one another.”

The love will have to carry them as there will be no playoffs for the second consecutive season.

“That goes with a territory of not doing well, but in terms of preparation and morale, these guys, we’re going to put it in,” Quinn said.

The Falcons had their “Tell The Truth Monday” film session before practice where they went over the mistakes from the 28-16 Thanksgiving night loss to the Saints.

“We are just working still,” cornerback Desmond Trufant said. “We came in today and went to work like every other day.”

Trufant, who’s in his seventh season, has been to the playoffs twice. However, he was injured late in the 2016 season when the team went to Super Bowl LI.

“At the end of the day, our resume is still out there,” Trufant said. “We are still just trying to make sure that we are playing together, we are talking, we are communicating, working hard on the details and stuff like that. Regardless of what we can do, obviously, we don’t have the postseason, but we still can put our brand of football out there and that’s what we’ll focus on.”

Since the second half of the Seattle game, the defense has been playing much improved football. There was a miscommunication against the Saints that yielded a 30-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Taysom Hill.

But the unit rebounded to get some stops and force field goals. The offense had the ball in a one-score game with 1:56 to play, but couldn’t block the Saints’ defensive front.

“It’s good,” Trufant said about how the defense is coming along. “It’s definitely the progress that we want. Making plays and getting turnovers. Stopping them on short-fields. We are definitely trending in the right direction. We just have to continue to do more and do whatever it takes to try to get these wins.”

The Falcons welcomed punter Matt Bosher and right guard Chris Lindstrom back to practice.

“Great to back with the team,” said Bosher, who missed the past eight games with a groin injury. “Sitting around watching hasn’t been all that fun, but getting back out there with the (guys) is a blessing. It’s great to be back.”

Conditioning will likely be an issue for Lindstrom, who hasn’t played since the season opener. His return signaled the start of the 21-day rehab period after his stint on injured reserve with a designation for return due to a broken foot.

“Today he was able to start the process to get back on the field,” Quinn said. “We’ll get a better sense Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and see where his readiness is. He was pumped to be back out there and we were pumped to have him.”

Also, tight ends Austin Hooper (knee) and Luke Stocker (back) returned to practice with wide receiver Julio Jones (shoulder) possibly returning this week and left guard James Carpenter still in concussion protocol.


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