Atlanta Falcons: What happened on day one of OTAs?


On Monday, May 23, the Atlanta Falcons underwent their first day of OTAs. What can fans take away from day one?

For starters, the term OTA stands for “organized team activities.” Recently the NFL has allowed teams to hold these off-season training sessions to help develop players. It is also a time when both rookies and veterans come together to begin what is known as “Phase 3” of the offseason.

During OTAs, one thing to keep an eye on his how the rookies adjust. Though the rookies, including Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, Austin Hooper, De’Vondre Campbell, Wes Schweitzer, and Devin Fuller, may have gotten a feel for the NFL in rookie minicamp, they will be faced with the veterans during OTAs.

Probably the most surprising element of day one was who was on the field and who wasn’t. On day one, the rookies were present but didn’t practice with the first team. Austin Hooper, the 2016 NFL Draft third round pick tight end, was not present at today’s session due to a Stanford graduation conflict.

The rookies weren’t the only ones who did not participate in day one. There were a few other Atlanta Falcons who missed out due to injuries.

Some of the injuries included return specialist Devin Hester with a foot injury, guard Chris Chester with a shoulder injury, and center James Stone with a knee injury.

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Additionally, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett did not participate today and is reported to be out the rest of the week as well as he battles tendonitis in his knee.

There were also two Falcons that participated at a limited capacity today. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was limited with a strained pectoral, and rookie wide receiver Devin Fuller with a hamstring injury was also limited.

Aside from everything that didn’t happen, one thing that Atlanta Falcons fans can take away from day one is that head coach Dan Quinn is testing versatility.

Quinn is testing multiple different players at different positions, including Vic Beasley, Courtney Upshaw, Derrick Shelby, as well as the rookies.

According to coach Quinn,

"“We’re trying to find that versatility. Can you do more than one role? Can you be a guard that can play center? Can you be a corner that can play nickel? Can you be a LEO who can play Sam? And if you can have that versatility, when we do ask you to make some switches and make some moves it’s not such a big deal. So now’s the time to find that out about players.”"

Do the Falcons need players to focus on multiple responsibilities, or do they need to simply focus on what they need to do? Will multiple roles interrupt that focus? Regardless, the need for versatile players is understandable.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: Will they be a 500 team this season?

Here’s a look at what’s coming up for the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason:

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 23-24, May 26, May 31, June 1, June 3, June 6-9

Mandatory Minicamp: June 14-16

Sit tight, Falcons fans. Every day is another day closer to football season.