There are just a couple things to report from Atlanta Falcons training camp, but they are certainly worth mentioning. Isn’t it great to see the Falcon on the sides of the players helmets again? Every part of training camp gets me excited.
First, Tony Gonzalez says he is “95% sure” he will retire after 2012. I’m a little surprised it’s that low. I think if the Falcons win a playoff game or do even better, he will certainly retire after this season. His production isn’t what it once was, and he doesn’t really stretch the field vertically anymore, but he is extremely well versed in ways to box the defender out, use of route running to fool defenders, and getting to the first down marker. He is the best safety valve the Falcons could ask for. I just hope that if he does decide to come back for 2013 that he will remain with the Falcons. I can’t imagine him not.
Secondly, we have this video and Q&A session with Matt Ryan that D. Orlando Ledbetter posted this evening. Many of the things discussed are exactly what you would expect from this time of the year. It involves asking Ryan what he has done to improve his own, how the Falcons will operate under new coordinator Dirk Koetter, how the players are adjusting to Koetter’s new system, and similar questions. Nothing that you wouldn’t really expect, but absolutely worth reading nonetheless.
Finally, we have this last piece from the AJC discussing the offensive line situation. A couple weeks ago I brought up the fact that the guys from the NFL Network regarded Lamar Holmes as a ‘right tackle only’ prospect. The NFL Network guys made it seem like they drew those conclusions from what they had heard from scouts or maybe even the Falcons front office, but I’m not entirely sure where they got that from. In the AJC article, it says how Holmes has recently been cleared to practice with the team, something he wasn’t able to do during minicamp. That’s a good sign. The better sign is that he was the No. 3 Left Tackle on the depth chart. Now that doesn’t seem very impressive, and for most teams he would be years from being able to play a down. However with the Falcons, he is a lot closer than that. Everyone knows Sam Baker struggled last season and not been spectacular in previous seasons. If he is similar to his 2010 form, he is only slightly ahead of Will Svitek for the No. 1 LT spot. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t know what Lamar Holmes has played like so far in training camp, and I’m not saying that he will challenge for the starting job barring something horrible happening. But what I am saying is that it’s a big sign that he is the No. 3 Left tackle and not the No. 3 Right tackle. Obviously the Falcons think he has a future at LT rather than RT. That could change next week, but I sincerely hope Holmes improves and one day starts at left tackle.