Posted: 12:33 pm Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

10 quick observations from Falcons open OTAs 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – While the Falcons continue to stress that they’ll be a multiple defensive team, the spent a great deal of time working on their 3-4 alignment during the first open OTA session on Wednesday.

Also, cornerback Desmond Trufant has been switched to left cornerback and Robert Alford lined up at right cornerback. Last season, Asante Samuel played left cornerback before Alford finished the season as the starter.

Generally, the defense appeared ahead of the offense, which is normal for this juncture of the offseason.

Here are 10 quick observations from the session:

Outside linebacker/defensive end Kroy Biermann stretching before OTA practice on Wednesday. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/

Outside linebacker/defensive end Kroy Biermann stretching before OTA practice on Wednesday. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/

1. THE 3-4: Left defensive end Tyson Jackson, nose tackle Paul Soliai, right defensive end Jonathan Babineaux. Left outside linebacker Kroy Biermann, left inside linebacker Paul Worrilow, right inside linebacker Joplo Bartu and right outside linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi. Left corner Desmond Trufant, strong safety William Moore, free safety Dwight Lowery and right cornerback Robert Alford.  Lowery was signed in free agency and appears set to replace Thomas DeCoud.

2. FIRST-TEAM OFFENSIVE LINE: Left tackle Sam Baker, left guard Justin Blalock, center Joe Hawley and Peter Konz were splitting time, right guard Jon Asamoah, right tackle Jake Matthews.

3. SECOND-TEAM OFFENSIVE LINE: Left tackle Lamar Holmes, left guard Mike Johnson, center Konz or Hawley, right guard Harland Gunn and right tackle Ryan Schraeder.

4. PUNT RETURNERS: Devin Hester, Harry Douglas, Robert Alford and Robert McClain were back catching punts during the special teams period.

5. HYBRID CREW: The players who will fill the outside linebacker/defensive end role in the 3-4 all went with outside linebacker coaches Mark Collins doing the individual period. The group included Kroy Biermann, Stansly Maponga, Tyler Starr, Walker May and Jacques Smith.

6. SHEMBO IN COVERAGE: Falcons coach Mike Smith gave rookie linebacker Prince Shembo some tips after he dropped in coverage during one drill.

7. LOWERY MAKES PLAY ON BALL: During the 11-on-11 team session, with the first-team playing against the first-team, Lowery made an interception of a Matt Ryan pass.

8. VISITORS: Some assistant coaches from the University of Tennessee were on hand. Also, Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof was on hand to watch practice.

9. DID NOT PRACTICE: Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (knee), safety Zeke Motta (neck), defensive tackle Corey Peters (Achilles), wide receiver Julio Jones (foot), wide receiver Roddy White (personal reasons) and running back Davonta Freeman.

10. WIDE RECEIVERS:  With Jones and White out, Darius Johnson and Harry Douglas were the first-team wide receivers.


–Tuesday – OTA No. 2.

–Thursday – OTA No. 3.

–Friday – Strength and Conditioning plus a rookie practice

–Monday– OTA No. 4.

–Tuesday, June 3 – OTA No. 5.

–Wednesday, June 4 – OTA No. 6.

–Thursday, June 5 – Rookie Practice.

–Monday, June 9 – Hacks vs. Jocks golf tournament. Defending champs – Team Scelfo.

–Tuesday, June 10 – OTA No. 7.

–Wednesday, June 11 – OTA No. 8.

–Thursday, June 12 – OTA No. 9.

–Friday, June 13 – OTA No. 10.

–Monday, June 16 – Physicals.

–Tuesday, June 17 — Day One: Mandatory minicamp (5 practices over three days)

–Wednesday, June 18 – Day Two: Mandatory minicamp.

–Thursday, June 19 – Day Three: Mandatory minicamp. (Offseason program ends for veterans).

TBA – Rookie Symposium

TBA – (Late July) – Report to Training camp.


Jake Matthews brings strength of family to the Falcons

Ra’Shede Hageman could turn into defensive force for Falcons

Dezmen Southward ready to compete for playing time

Warrick Dunn likes the pick of FSU’s Devonta Freeman

Falcons signed 20 undrafted rookie free agents, 5 from SEC 

Falcons invite 24 players in for tryouts

NFL Draft 2014: ESPN’s Todd McShay on the Falcons’ draft class

VIDEO: Reaction to the Atlanta Falcons’ 2014 draft class


Round 1 / 6 — Jake Matthews, RT, 6-5, 308, Texas A&M

Round 2/37 – Ra’Shede Hageman, DE, 6-6, Minnesota

Round 3/68 – Dezmen Southward, FS, 6-0, 211, Wisconsin

Round 4/103 – Devonta Freeman, RB, 5-8, 206, Florida State

Round 4/139 – Prince Shembo, LB, 6-1, 253 Notre Dame

Round 5/147 – Ricardo Allen, CB, 5-9, 187, Purdue

Round 5/168 – Marquis Spruill, LB, 6-1, 231, Syracuse

Round 7/253 – Yawin Smallwood, LB, 6-2, 246, Connecticut

Round 7/255 – Tyler Starr, LB, 6-4, 250, South Dakota



1. Where is Gabe Carimi ?

2. Are any other players listed as "designated pass rusher" ?

3. Do you think and of the rookies could beat out Worrilow & Bartu ?


Babs and Hageman only about 10 lbs difference. I'm wondering if Konz can do more than 18 reps on the 225 bench press as he did in 2012 making TD want him so bad. That's about what WR's do, isn't it?

As I have said before, I think AB doesn't trust TD anymore and this draft had others influencing it. I hope we got some good guys.


Any chance Hageman ends up starting at one DE spot? A front of Jackson, Soliai, and Hageman would be nasty! Babs is good but is smallish at DE in the 3-4. 


D I missed something, where is Dent?


Dled whats happening........I noticed a picture of SJax that recent and is he in camp?


Surprised they had Holmes at LT and Shraeder at RT on 2nd team OL.  Seems like it would be reversed .  Glad to see Mike Johnson at Guard instead of tackle.  Of course, it's just the first OTA.

Shembo didn't go with the OLBs??? Maybe they are checking him out on the inside...


Observation No. 9 - No reason listed for RB D. Freeman sitting out.  What's up?!?!



You're talking about starting 3 inexperienced players on your right strong side. Wow, good luck with that! Babineaux is actually moving back to his natural position as a DE (even though it is in that overhyped 3-4). You have to protect the LB on the edge (especially unnatural ones). Babineaux is your vet like Red Bryant was who has to do that.