Rise Up: Atlanta Falcons - Adventures in Training Camp
I had the pleasure of doing something I try to do every year this past Sunday. I hopped on 985 bright and early and headed to Flowery Branch to watch the 2016 NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons training camp. My Falcons were out there in pads putting in work, and it was obvious that they are on a mission. Let’s discuss a few players that stood out.
1. Mohamed Sanu
When the Falcons acquired Sanu from the browns last year I was fairly indifferent. I knew he had hands, and would be a good 2nd receiver behind Julio but Sanu didn’t really impress me until the latter half of last season. It looks like he hasn’t let his foot off the gas in the offseason. Sanu is already in mid-season form. Going up and getting the ball and keeping his energy high. He was on that practice field competing and if he carries that same energy throughout the season he is going to be an even better weapon than last year.
2. Damontae Kazee
If I could say one thing about this rookie defensive back it would be this: HE HAS HANDS!!!! A fifth round pick from San Diego State Kazee is already showing that he play no games. He’s had 3 interceptions during camp so far. On Sunday he literally snatched the ball out of TE Joshua Perkins arms with one hand. This kid is a ball hawk, and it’ll be very interesting to see where he will end up in the defensive scheme. I’m guessing we’ll see him make the transition from corner to safety.
3. Austin Hooper
Hooper was fairly quiet as a rookie. So quiet that many people, Falcons fans included, didn’t even know who he was until he scored the 2nd touchdown in the Super Bowl. The 2nd year TE has definitely been working in the offseason. He even worked out with league MVP Matt Ryan for a few days in California. It was evident that Ryan and Hooper have established a relationship, and that just adds another solid weapon to our already explosive offense.
4. Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe
These two are going to be a problem. Jarrett and Poe seem to have already established a rhythm with each other after only 4 days of camp. Jarrett, who was the defensive star in the Super Bowl, has spoken about being excited to play with Poe this season and it was evident during practice that they are here to make some noise. The two of them together will give the defensive line some much needed strength, and it will force opponents to make some tough decisions. Offensive lines better beware.
Overall there was a spirit of hard work up at Flowery Branch. Players were focused and competing, as they have been since camp started. This Falcons team is looking for redemption, and they are sure to get it if they continue to work hard and strengthen the brotherhood. As always, don’t forget to Rise Up!!!!