It’s the time of the year where football is right around the corner. Training camp has begun and although I’m unable to make it to the Jets camp, I was fortunate enough to head to the Falcons first camp on the 26th. As soon as I got there I was directed to the free parking lot where they also provided shuttle buses to the Flowery Branch team headquarters. As I got close to the field I noticed a local radio station hosting contests, prizes and games for the kids. I walked a little further and saw something that made me very happy: their $1 menu with everything from hamburgers, hotdogs, funnel cakes, gatorade, ice cream bars and plenty more.
It was a beautiful sunny day for training camp but I must admit I was sweating like crazy. Next time I will have to bring an umbrella for some shade. I met Jill, a mother of three young boys who also play football and joined them for a bit on the grass. She explained to me this was her first time coming to see a training camp but because her boys were huge fans of the Falcons, she decided to do the one hour drive to give them the experience. Camp was underway and as I sat near the end zone I began seeing different areas set up for the player practice drills. Defensive players were in white and the offense in red. I enjoyed watching the players perform their individual position techniques as well as the defensive ends practice tackling, blocking, hand speed and agility techniques.
Up next were the running backs that were looking very sharp for the first day. They performed a few footwork drills, which are one of the important skills to master as a running back. They have to be quick on their toes as well as have great ball security. They also practiced body control and body awareness techniques which also help with hand-eye coordination and protection of the ball.
Soon it was time for QB Matt Ryan to do his thing with some passing in wide receiver drills.. WR’s Roddy White and Kevin Cone were both on point with catching while being blocked by some defensive players. Matt Ryan completed passes to Jason Snelling, Michael Turner and Julio Jones as well.
Towards the end of camp, kids and fans lined up hoping for autographs, as I looked at the eager kids waiting to see their favorite players a few of them came to greet fans. Roddy White and Harry Douglas were generous giving their gloves to some kids; the looks on their faces were priceless. I even managed to help Jill and her kids get a few autographs on their jerseys. Overall this was a great experience for everyone and with football right around the corner I’m excited. For the first day of training camp the Atlanta Falcons were looking pretty good out there, many are questioning whether or not they will be a playoff contender this season but I say so far so good. We’ll just have to wait and see.