We went back out to training camp today to watch the Falcons take on the Bengals at Flowery Branch. This won't be the last time these two teams meet each other either. They'll have drills and scrimmages against one another again tomorrow, and play in both teams' first preseason game of the year Thursday night at the Georgia Dome.
SEAN WEATHERSPOON AND JULIO JONES INJURED
While there are some interesting battles going on today, there is some bad news to report here, unfortunately. The Falcons' best linebacker, Sean Weatherspoon was injured today against the Bengals. He left practice early, favoring his hand. We weren't able to see the injury as it occurred, and the severity of the injury isn't known at this time. We'll definitely keep you posted as we find out more information.
Julio Jones was limited in today's action. He only caught about two or three passes before standing around on the field, watching the action. The details of his injuries have not been disclosed at this time.
These two players are vital to the Falcons success this year, particularly Weatherspoon. The Falcons have virtually no depth at linebacker this year beyond their starters, and to lose Spoon could be detrimental to the defense. Weatherspoon is also the signal caller of the defense and one of its valued leaders. To lose him would leave a gaping hole not only in production, but in leadership.
The good news about Jones is that the injury doesn't appear to be too serious as he was still out there with his teammates throughout the afternoon, and he looked good during the limited action he saw.
MOORE VS. CONE
Both receivers were playing great football today, and proved that they could also go up against another secondary and have some success.
There were various drills that pitted DBs and WRs against each other today. There were the one on one drills, and drills that pitted a QB and WRs against LBs, Safeties and CBs.
In both drills, Moore and Cone made some impressive catches. There were a couple of times when the Cincinnati secondary clamped down on them, but for the most part, they were able to beat their men on most plays. When they got their hands on the ball, they didn't drop it.
Keep in mind that these drills aren't being run at full speed, no tackling or major contact is occurring. But still, the receivers are busting it out there and the defenders are trying to guard them as best as they can.
Cone showcased his physical stature, while Moore showcased his blinding speed. Two players with two different styles of play, but both appear to have very nice hands.
These two will be fighting to the end for that fourth spot. This will be an interesting battle to watch as the preseason begins this week.
SECONDARY PLAYING MAN TO MAN
The Falcons also engaged in some drills that pitted the Falcons' offense against the defense today when they weren't playing against the Bengals. These were full 11 v. 11 drills.
While the offense seemed to have the upper hand throughout, there were moments when the secondary put the clamps on the receivers. Asante Samuel, Robert Alford and Robert McClain all had very nice deflections during the passing portion of this drill.
Alford especially impressed, showcasing the physicality we discussed in our profile on him. He was able to move around the receiver, establish position and break up the pass with ease.
Samuel's and McClain's deflections were nice as well. But we know what to expect from them at this point, particularly with Samuel. It was good to see the Falcons play some man to man defense when defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is usually so reliant on zone coverage.
DOMINIQUE DAVIS IS THE CLEAR NUMBER 2 QB
Dominique Davis was the most consistent quarterback today out of the backups. He under-threw one ball, and the Cincinnati defense had a couple of pass breakups, but for the most part, he was usually on the money with his passes against the Bengals secondary.
There was one pass in particular that was a 30 yard or so bullet over the middle to wide receiver James Rodgers (who also had a very nice day) that burned the Cincinnati secondary. This play got the biggest response from the crowd today.
Sean Renfree had a couple of decent passes, but he seemed to get hurried on a couple of plays versus the Bengals and made one pretty badly under-thrown ball, and one pretty badly over-thrown ball. At the end of the day, he didn't really help his cause to be the second string quarterback.
Unless Davis has the most horrendous preseason of his life, he should be the number two quarterback.
We'll keep you posted on the Weatherspoon and Jones injury. Since they're both injured, don't look for either one to play against Bengals. The game for those who are wondering, is at 8:00 on ESPN this Thursday.
Photos By: Graham Waldrop
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