Dynamic receiving duo fuels Falcons

The Falcons' dynamic wide receiver duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White was back together for the second open OTA session.

White was a no-show for the voluntary OTAs last week.

White and Jones combined to catch 171 passes for 2,549 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.

Jones was absolutely dazzling in the NFC Championship Game as he caught 11 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. He broke the franchise record for playoff receiving yards in a game, set by Alfred Jenkins in the 1980 season (155 yards), and tied White's team record for receptions in a playoff game.

Falcons coach Mike Smith believes the two players can improve on last season.

"I think they can continue to get better," Smith said. "The guy that's distributing the ball is going to be better. Julio is going to be a more polished player. Harry (Douglas) continues to mature and of course what Roddy has done, he has a long track record.

"They haven't reached their ceiling and I think it gives us an opportunity to distribute the ball to a number of different players," Smith said.

Jones believes it's possible that they could improve on the stellar 2012 campaign.

"We are always trying to get better," Jones said. "Every day when we practice we are competing against each other."

Jones believes that the wide receivers can also help the defense improve.

"We have young cornerbacks and we have to just keep going out there and playing our ball and make them come up to our level," Jones said. "That will make us an overall better team."

Jones, who's set to enter his third season, can relate with the young defensive backs.

"It's all about it becoming second nature to them," Jones said. "Just keep working on it and don't get down on yourself."

Smith was pleased that White was on hand.

"It was great to have Roddy here," Smith said. "We all know what Roddy means to this football team. He's a playmaker. He's a mentor to a lot of these young guys, so it's good to have Roddy here."

Roll call

Rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant and tight end Levine Toilolo were not present because their schools, Washington and Stanford, have not graduated.

Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez and cornerback Asante Samuel did not attend the voluntary session.

Sizing things up

Much has been made of the size of the offensive linemen the Falcons have signed over the offseason. The personnel department notes that they don't have any linemen under 300 pounds on the roster.

"I don't know if that means a lot," offensive line coach Paul Dunn said. "I know that there are a lot of under 300-pound guys that are sitting in Canton, Ohio, right now. Maybe this is the way the game is going. I don't necessarily know that you need to be a certain size or framework or body makeup, but they are bigger guys."


The Falcons are at the halfway point of their 10 OTAs. They will conclude on June 14.

"I really like the way that the guys have been working," Smith said. "It's been very competitive through the first half of the OTAs. There are some positions that are more competitive than others. With the offensive line, I really like the competition that we have there. There are some young guys that really have learned our scheme that we feel like are going to be able to contribute and help us. Those are probably the two biggest highlights."

Access granted

Smith doesn't believe the league rule to place cameras in the locker room during pregame will be too intrusive.

"I don't know that anybody would want to see what really goes on in our locker room before the game, but I know that we are, as the home team, I believe it's a league policy that we're going to have to make it available and we will," Smith said. "We'll follow the guidelines that the league has in place."

Quote to note

"Both of those guys have considerable playing experience. Peter (Konz) has 10 starts under his belt. Joe (Hawley) has quite a few starts under his belt. Both have considerable starts, but they don't have as many starts as (Jeff) Van Note and (Todd) McClure did. When you look at that, that combines for maybe three-fourths of the franchise history. Now, if one of those guys will develop into another Van Note or a McClure, then the franchise will be in pretty good hands for the next 17 or 18 years."

-- Dunn on the battle for the starting center position.