Atlanta Falcons MiniCamp Starts Today


The Atlanta Falcons will open their final minicamp before they break until training camp, which will begin at the end of July. The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter has a list of 5 things for Falcons fans to keep an eye on during the minicamp today through Thursday:

1. Attendance. The Minicamp is mandatory for all Falcons players, so if you are up at Flowery Branch this week, keep your eyes peeled for all players to be present.

2. Offensive Line Groupings. This is something that I covered a couple weeks ago when I talked about the offensive line depth chart through OTAs. In that piece, Hawley was the first string Center, Garrett Reynolds who was miserable in 2011 was working with the 1st team, and Peter Konz was buried on the depth chart still. I would expect things to start opening up for Konz, Vince Manuwai or others competing for starting jobs on the offensive line. What we see Thursday, at the end of the Minicamp, will be close to what we see in training camp and in the regular season.

3. John Abraham’s movement on the field. Abraham is no spring chicken, yet is still a productive and valuable member of this team. He was allowed to workout on his own, away from the team during OTAs, which is something that he has cleared with the coaches. I would expect to see the same John Abraham from last season, but he is a player we should still keep an eye on.

4. Tony Gonzalez’ play. The biggest vegetarian I’ve ever seen who is not named Prince Fielder. Gonzalez might be the best player to ever play for the Falcons, even if he played his final seasons here. He is extremely veteran, and will probably not have any problem being ready right away. Watching Gonzalez play isn’t making sure that he is healthy; it is watching a 36 year old guy do things that 26 year olds can’t.

5. Peter Konz. Ledbetter notes that the Falcons have taken a very slow approach with starting rookie o-lineman as evidenced by the careers of Garrett Reynolds, Mike Johnson, and Andrew Jackson. They may not have been ready, but they also definitely didn’t play as rookies. The case may be the same with Konz. As I noted above in point 2 as well as in the link included in that point, Konz was the 2nd string Center and 3rd team Right Guard in OTAs. Everyone, including me, is demanding Konz start at RG his entire rookie season. I hope that happens, but I think that it is only realistic and prudent to realize that there is a distinct possibility that Konz doesn’t start in 2012. He may not even play. We will just see how it plays out.

These are the things that fans who are attending the team’s minicamp should be looking for, and fans following on Blogging Dirty as well as other Falcons resources should be keeping an eye out for.

For those who want to know the Falcons remaining minicamp sessions that are open to the public are June 20 from 3:30-5:20 and June 21 from 10:30-12:20. I will be attending Thursday’s minicamp. Come find me, and lets talk about the Falcons!