Atlanta Falcons: 2014 Training Camp Preview

Atlanta Falcons

It is the beginning of July and fresh off the Fourth of July weekend. With that being said, in the NFL, the coming weeks will become very interesting, yet exciting to many NFL fans because preseason football is right around the corner, starting in the month of August. This also means one step closer to regular season football in September.

However, before fans get there dream of seeing hard hits, the newest high profile rookie additions and big name free agents play in a game, fans must sit through the long weeks of July. For example, some refer to this time period where basketball and the NBA Finals are done, hockey is done and baseball, well to some it is exciting, but to others it is boring and does not create much excitement like other sports such as football. Nevertheless, it dominates the sports world with football beginning to heat up towards the latter part of July.

What is training camp an why it is important?

All in all, NFL training camp begins for teams between July 20th and July 28th. Training camp is the period in which NFL players gear up for the upcoming season. Teams will meet and practice at a different location other than their official stadium where they host games and rookie players and free agents get the opportunity to meet veteran or returning players already on their respective teams.

More importantly, rookies are fighting for a position on a team while returning players prepare to get back into the swing of things in terms of the level of intensity and being in tip-top shape for the season.

In addition, NFL head coaches will implement scrimmages of different offensive and defensive sets in the playbook, take players through drills, two practice sessions, meetings with position coaches and intense weight training. Training camp leads straight into the NFL Preseason in August.

As for the Atlanta Falcons, players are to report to training camp on July 24 at the team’s Flowery Branch headquarters. Training camp will have select practices open to the public from July 25 to August 12. For a complete list of all training camp activities, click here.

Few things to watch

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The Falcons made huge additions on offense and defense during the offseason, which should lead them well going into the start of training camp. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see who will emerge as starters and what rookies will earn positions on the team when preseason football is underway.

As far the defense, I think the new additions, rookies and returners will mesh will each other. As we know, Atlanta will be running a multiple sets defense, going from 3-4 to 4-3 defensive sets in the upcoming season. It will be interesting to see how the returning players and newest additions to the team adapt to this defensive scheme.

On offense, look to see the offensive line to become much better in protecting quarterback Matt Ryan, which allows him to be “Matty Ice” as he often called instead of “ Matt Ryan who was sacked 44 times last year and was inconsistent, throwing 17 interceptions and just 26 touchdowns.

On the other hand, Atlanta still needs to decide who will emerge as the starting tight end for the team. Hopefully, training camp and preseason games will allow each of the six tight ends to get playing time. Thus, it will give head coach Mike Smith a good opportunity to see which one fits best in the offense.