Monday, July 20, 2015

Three Notable Things to Watch during Falcons Training Camp

July 30th marks the beginning of a new era in Atlanta Falcons football with new Head Coach Dan Quinn. Also, training camp will allow us to answer some of the questions that many have discussed on the radio, throughout social media since OTA’s whether the topics were on the field or off the field. As we are one week away from the first training camp practice of the 2015 NFL season, here are the three most intriguing things that fans should keep an eye on during Training Camp.

Will Free Safety Ricardo Allen Start This Season?

Rookie cornerback Ricardo Allen #37 of the Atlanta Falcons runs drills during rookie minicamp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility on May 16, 2014 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (May 15, 2014 – Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Second year Free Safety Ricardo Allen has been mentioned from the team, writers and fans since the start of Falcons mini-camp and Allen is well deserving of the notoriety. After a position change from corner back to safety, his performance throughout the off-season has benefited him and now he’s possibly on the verge to becoming the Falcons starting free safety in less than two months when we open the season at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. He's shown the instincts, ball skills, and awareness needed to play but still hasn't shown what he can do in game speed or even with full padding on as of yet. His development in the pre-season will be critical to Quinn's defensive plan. 

Will the Falcons sign Julio Jones during training camp? Or will the contract talks continue towards the start of the regular season?

Julio Jones TD vs Green Bay

I love Julio, You love Julio, EVERYBODY loves Julio!!!  As Julio Jones is entering the last year of his contract after receiving a one year extension last year, Jones is due for a large pay day. Last season, despite the Falcons having a tough 6-10 finish to the season, their star wide receiver took flight. Jones set a franchise record with 1,593 receiving yards on a career-high 104 receptions despite missing one game with an oblique injury. After the amazing finish to the season, many expect for Jones to follow up with another great season. Another big reason why many Falcons fans and people around the league are focusing on the Jones contract situation is because he’s the last of the three notable receivers due for an extension to receive a contract. Last week, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant received an 5-year, $70 million dollar ($45 million guaranteed) contract and Denver Broncos' receiver Demaryius Thomas received an 5 year - $70 ($30 million guaranteed) contract as well and similar to Jones, both are considered among some of the league’s top players at their position. Their contracts will help guide Julio’s situation which may end up being anywhere between 5 years for $80 to $90 million dollars. Although the Falcons have expressed their interests to extend his contract, we are still keeping an eye on the situation. Anything can happen in the NFL!

          Will OLB Vic Beasley become the pass rusher of the future for the Falcons defense? 

Vic Beasley earning a sack against Florida State

Over the last few seasons, the Falcons have lacked a formidable pass rusher. During the Mike Smith tenure, Atlanta was looking for someone to make an impact along with defensive end John Abraham; however, the organization failed to successfully address the issue. Pressure on the quarterback was one of the Falcons' biggest problems for the past two seasons as the Falcons finished tied for 30th last season and 29th in 2013 in quarterbacks, which was one of the worst around the league. In this off-season, they've begun to address their pass rushing flaws by drafting Clemson star linebacker and edge rusher Vic Beasley in this year’s NFL Draft. The Clemson product will be Atlanta’s designated pass rusher at the LEO position. This pre-season will be a 4-game showcase for him against pro talent and many Falcons fans are going to be watching him closely to see can Beasley bring the fear to opposing offensive coordinators and impact the revamped Falcons defense as the 2015 NFL season begins. 


Although there are some questions that we all have as the season inches closer, we are all excited to see the beginning of a new era in Atlanta Falcons football as Dan Quinn will look to help our beloved Falcons return to the level of playoff contenders in the NFC and take steps towards bringing the excitement of Falcons football back to the city of Atlanta. The process has just begun so Falcons fans, patience is key! RISE UP!!!!!

-Raekwon Gilbert (@RXGilbert97)

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