FLOWERY BRANCH — The newest Atlanta Falcons got the lion’s share of the work on the first day of minicamp Tuesday at the team’s training facility in Flowery Branch.
Free agents and 2019 draft picks were featured in multiple ways as mandatory NFL workouts began.
“Before the minicamp started we had individual meetings with each new player,” head coach Dan Quinn said. “Coming in after nine practices, this is where you’re at and these are the things we think need some improvement and some of the things you’re doing really well.
“We identified with each of the 23 rookies and some of the veteran free agents that are here, ‘Hey, here are some of the things we’d like to see over the next three days.’”
Quinn, who has taken over defensive play calling, said linemen Deadrin Senot and John Caminsky were among the young standouts Tuesday.
Top draft pick, offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom, also has impressed Quinn.
“More of it revolved around pass protection and smaller techniques, how tight he can keep his hands, but he’s really had a hell of a start picking up the system,” Quinn said. “He’s really answered many of the challenges we’ve thrown at him. He’s really fit into that group of offensive linemen seamlessly.”
Six-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones was one of 10 players who didn’t compete on the field Tuesday. The star wide receiver is close to returning from a foot injury and spent the day getting to know some of the new additions.
“For me, being a veteran guy, I can go talk to them and see how they react to taking coaching from another player, see how they take what I give them today and use it tomorrow in practice,” Jones said. “We’ve got a great rookie class. They seem hungry.”
Jones wants to be the kind of teacher he had in Roddy White, who was named to the Falcons’ Ring of Honor on Tuesday.
“He is the type of teammate that enjoys the mentorship piece of it,” Quinn said. “He takes that responsibility seriously, not just the wide receivers, but others on the offensive side of it, too.”
Jones, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and defensive end Vic Beasley joined the team for the first time after working out on their own during the early summer OTAs.
“We had 10 guys who, in some form or fashion, didn’t compete today,” Quinn said. “Some are part of ongoing rehab. Some are precautionary and being held out. Each situation is fluid.
“But I am excited everybody is here.”
Beasley was one who did get some work in, though it was limited.
“He looked like you’d expect,” Quinn said. “His retention on detail was excellent. He had good quickness. For the first time out to have zero mental errors, that says a lot.”
Jarrett was pumped to be back with the rest of the team and remembered vividly what it was like to be a rookie at minicamp.
“I was talking to Caminsky and I was telling him, it all happened overnight,” Jarrett said. “I remember how fast the game was going for me and when you get into the minicamp, that day gets longer from OTAs. It just takes a lot more focus.”
Jarrett continued to hone his game during the offseason.
“I don’t know if I’ve even scratched the surface of where I want to be as a player so I’m challenging myself day in and day out to be the best player I can be,” he said. “Even the things I do well, I feel I can still get better at. There’s always work to be done. I’m excited to get back to work when the time comes.”
Minicamp concludes Thursday and there’s a five-week break until rookies report to training camp in July.