FLOWERY BRANCH -- The countdown to training camp 2016 has started.
The Falcons report to training camp on Wednesday, July 27. The first practice is set for Thursday, July 28. Here's the training camp schedule with the list of practices that will be open to the public.
Here are five issues that will face the Falcons when they open camp:
1. Project pass rush. Most folks were up in arms after the Falcons didn’t directly address the pass rush in the NFL draft. The Falcons are counting on improved play from defensive end/linebacker Vic Beasley, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, defensive tackle/end Derrick Shelby to help improve the pass rush. The Falcons are hoping to have better coverage against running backs and tight ends which may give the rush more time to reach the quarterback. The Falcons were last in the league with 19 sacks last season.
PROJECT PASS RUSH
2. Ryan’s footwork. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent a lot of time working on his footwork this offseason. He worked in front of mirrors and went over those issues in a film session with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
3. Running back tandem. All indications were that the Falcons plan to split the running back job between Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman after Freeman had a breakout season in 2015. Coleman, who was the season-opening starter last season, flashed some big play ability but couldn’t stay healthy and had ball security issues.
4. Youth on the defense. The Falcons could start five players with under two years experience on defense. Second-year projected starters in Beasley and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett could be joined in the starting lineup by rookie safety Keanu Neal (first-round), middle linebacker Deion Jones (second-round) and weakside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell (fourth-round).
5. Putting 'Special' back in special teams. The Falcons have two big question marks on the special teams, which were called average by coordinator Keith Armstrong. Kicker Matt Bryant must recover from a down year and returner Devin Hester is an unknown quantity coming off foot/ankle surgery. Strong-footed rookie Nick Rose was impressive over the offseason, but must be more consistent to unseat Bryant. Rookie Devin Fuller (seventh-round) suffered a serious hamstring injury and didn’t get to show his return ability.
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
Here’s a closer look at the training camp schedule:
27 – Wednesday, team reports for camp.
28 - Thursday, practice open to public, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
29 – Friday, public practice, 10:00 a.m. - 12 p.m.
30 – Saturday, public practice, 10:00 a.m. - 12 p.m.
31 – Sunday, public practice, 10:00 a.m. - 12 p.m.
1 - Monday, no practice.
2 - Tuesday, public practice, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
3 – Wednesday, public practice, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
4 – Thursday, public practice, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
5 - Friday, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Grayson High School
6 - Saturday, players off.
7 – Sunday, public practice, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
8- Monday, public practice, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
9 - Tuesday, public practice, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
10 - Wednesday, public practice 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
11 – Thursday vs. Washington 7 p.m. (Georgia Dome).
12 – Friday, closed practice.
13 - Saturday, players off.
14 – Sunday, public practice, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
15 – Monday, public practice, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
16 – Tuesday, public practice: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
90-MAN ROSTER ANALYSIS -- POSITION BY POSITION