Fresh from a quick trip to Florida, the Falcons have begun their offseason program quickly, and they look like they’ve been busy.
Quarterback Matt Ryan again organized a gathering in south Florida, where for a couple of days last week players — and players only — got together to work out, throw and catch footballs and re-acquaint themselves ahead of the team’s official workouts, which began Monday.
“It’s been a good start,” coach Dan Quinn said after Wednesday’s workout. “I’m very encouraged by how good a shape the guys showed up in. You can tell they’ve put the work in, the time.”
Ryan and his wife, Sarah, put together “Camp Brotherhood” to give players a head start on the team’s strength and conditioning program and organized team activities. More players participated this year compared to last.
“I think it’s a little bigger than a passing camp now,” Ryan reported. “We had a lot of guys from different positions down there. We got some good work in on the field, knocked some of the rust off. I thought guys had a good time.
“It was good for everybody to come together, kind of connect on where they’ve been, kind of get our minds right to get started on the offseason. We changed some venues, etc., but for the most part it was pretty similar … pretty casual couple of days, not as intense and organized as it is once we get back here.”
Quinn appreciates Camp Brotherhood as much for its bonding principles as for the football-related work players did.
“That was the main thing,” he said. “To a guy, it’s not just the on-the-field time, but the time away that they spend together, going to dinner and doing stuff together, that type of connection that you can have as a team.”
After two workouts, the head coach likes what he is seeing.
“I said, ‘Who’s going to be the ones who set it off?’ and by the looks of how the workouts have gone so far, I was really impressed by the level of conditioning that the guys have come back in,” Quinn summarized. “There is a number of guys who are really making a push to see where they can take their game.
“On the defensive side, I certainly think (free safety) Ricardo Allen is in that spot, (linebacker) Deion Jones is, and (tackle) Grady Jarrett to name a few. Offensively, one guy that I feel like is really making his mark is (guard) Wes (Schweitzer) … he’s going for it in the biggest way. (Center-guard Ben) Garland would be another one … (tight end Austin) Hooper would be another one.”