Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp works with quarterbacks Kurt Benkert (from left), Matt Ryan, Garrett Grayson, and Matt Schaub during team practice on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Flowery Branch.
Here are five things we learned at the Falcons’ OTA session on Tuesday:
1. Honor the hustle: The Falcons worked hard for about an hour and a half without wide receiver Julio Jones, who's taken the voluntary OTAs off.
“Today, was a big day for us on the field,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “One of the topics that I spoke to the team about this morning was the term ‘honor the hustle.’ For us, that really meant how hard you can go for it. At this time of the year you have to find ways to compete. It may not be the physical side (of blocking and tackling), but it could still be competitive.”
2. Gage injured: Falcons wide receiver/defensive back Russell Gage, a sixth-round (194th overall) draft pick, had a 'tweak' and was working off to the side with trainers. Normally, a tweak is described with a hamstring injury. He's expected back for mini-camp, according to Quinn. Also, defensive back Leon McFadden (stomach flu), safety Quincy Mauger (knee), left guard Andy Levitre (arm), right guard Wes Schweitzer (undisclosed) and defensive end Takkarrist McKinley (shoulder) were working off to the side with the training staff.
3. Leaders on defense: Quinn said linebacker Deion Jones and strong safety Keanu Neal are developing "powerful" leadership skills and have made presentations to the defensive group because they know have a full understanding of the defense.
4. Making plays on the ball: The Falcons have asked cornerback Desmond Trufant to make more plays on the ball. But the offseason rules don't allow for contact so that'll have to see that part later.
“Could you know what you work on so hard that you could teach it,” Quinn said. “He’s really fit, looking strong and ready.”
Trufant has 60 pass breakups, but only nine interceptions over 72 regular season games. The Falcons want to turn some of those breakups into interceptions.
5. Visitors at practice: N.C. State's co-defensive coordinator Ted Roof, formerly of Georgia Tech, watched practice with several other members of their staff.
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.