5 things we learned at Falcons’ practice Sunday


Sharrod Neasman continue to work at strong safety for the injured Keanu Neal.

The Falcons held their first practice since losing the exhibition season-opener 23-20 to Miami on Thursday.

Coach Dan Quinn was already looking to the Sunday and Monday practices when he chatted pre-game in Miami with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We’re going to go hard for two days and then get ready for the game,” Quinn said. 

He said he didn’t like the long break between games (Thur to next Sunday. He’d prefer a weekly game schedule during the exhibition season.

Here’s what we learned in practice on Sunday:

1. Freeman leaves practice, Grace slowed. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman left the field, walking with a trainer about an hour and 20 minutes into the practice. 

UPDATE, 12:07 p.m.: “I didn’t think he was going to come back,” Quinn said after practice.  “He had some heat stuff that he dealt with from the first practice and again today. I didn’t get a chance to go in and see him yet, but I’ll find out.”

Linebacker Jermaine Grace was slowed by a hamstring injury. He was working with the trainers. Cornerback Akeem King was also held out of practice. Defensive end Martin Ifedi, who was working his way back from an ankle injury was not at practice. 

“We are going to hold him this week, we’ll take a look after Pittsburgh,” Quinn said. “We’re going to let his ankle settle down. It’s really not coming around as fast as he’d hoped.” 

 2. Ward non-contact jersey. Running back Terron Ward, who led the Falcons is rushing with 48 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown against Miami, wore a black – no contact – jersey in practice. 

3. Returnees. Defensive lineman Jack Crawford (groin) returned to practice. Wide receiver Julio Jones (foot) and Taylor Gabriel (lower leg) also practiced after not playing against Miami. Jones and Gabriel also worked in team drills. 

4. Meyer auditioning for Bucs?: Falcons backup kicker Mike Meyer, who made a 53-yard field goal against Miami, may be auditioning for the open job in Tampa Bay.

The Bucs released former second-round pick Robert Aguayo on Saturday. They have veteran Nick Folk in camp. 

5. Brandt at practice. Sirius XM NFL Radio’s team of Gil Brandt and Alex Marvez were at practice. 

“They are pretty organized,” said Brandt, the former NFL personnel man for the Dallas Cowboys. “There are not a lot of guys out there killing grass.”

He also noted how hard it is to watch practice from the media box when the team moves around to different parts of the field. He’d prefer to roam and watch along the sidelines. 

He said that Wes Schweitzer, who’s battling for the starting right guard spot, was looking good and he advised everyone to keep an eye on rookie left guard Sean Harlow.

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