The Atlanta Falcons started bright and early this morning kicking off this year’s Training Camp.
The first order of business was informing everyone about the progress of getting ready for Falcons Football 2023. Several local reporters of the Atlanta sports media were on hand at the Falcons headquarters.
As a hot sun rose over Flowery Branch, inside the Falcons training facility, Head Coach Arthur Smith spoke to the press, then answered reporter questions about the team’s approaching season.
He confirmed that Calais Campbell would be on the non-football injury list as reported last night. He said he expected Campbell to be back on the field soon. “It’s nothing we are concerned about long term,” he said. Coach Smith would not elaborate on the specifics of Campbell’s injury.
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He also confirmed the departure of Caleb Huntley, who was still recovering from an injury last year but was unable to make the team this year. He said he would have liked to keep players like Huntley and others, but financial and need reasons dictated their departures.
He said he had high expectations for his players this year, and hope the Falcons could make the playoffs. “Your expectations need to be high every year,” he said. “Our goal every year has been has been is no matter who we had here or what the challenge has been… we will fight like hell to get into the playoffs. Certainly, nobody’s gonna have higher expectations than I do for this team and myself.”
The newly mustached Smith told the press there would be competition in the wide receiver and left guard positions during practice. Matt Hennessy will start in the first team for the left guard position. Jaylen Mayfield will be working right tackle throughout the practice periods.
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Smith answered a question on how the Falcons will focus on improving line of scrimmage performance. He said the team needs to keep improving and that he wants the Falcons to be a “smart” team, mindful of avoiding pre-snap penalties, turnovers, and other costly mistakes.
Later in the presser, quarterback Desmond Ridder, safety Jessie Bates,III, running back Cordarrelle Patterson, kicker Younghoe Koo, tight end Kyle Pitts and outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter spoke to the press, all giving their observations and expectations about the coming season.
Assistant General Manager Kyle Smith told the audience he was pleased that the Falcons were improving and making him enthusiastic about the coming season.
After the presser, the players were already on the field, working hard training under a searing Atlanta summer sun. Tight end Kyle Pitts was on the field, practicing for the first time since a torn MCL surgery took him out of action during week 11 last season. Pitts, wearing a brace on his healing left knee, caught some passes from starting quarterback Ridder. Smith said that Pitts would be eased into training sessions.
Training Camp begins in earnest tomorrow, with press and fans in attendance as the players begin training for the new season.