Falcons minicamp gets underway without Jones, White

Jimmy Cribb/AtlantaFalcons.com

The Falcons’ final set of workouts before the start of training camp in August got underway on Tuesday without two key players on the field, as wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones both sat out the workout.

Jones was expected to sit out coming back from his foot injury. However, Roddy’s sitting out the drills was a little more of a surprise. That said, head coach Mike Smith isn’t concerned about White not taking part in these three days of work.

“We’re going to hold Roddy out for the rest of our mini-camp and he’ll be ready to go with us in training camp,” Smith said. “We just felt like he needed to get some rest. He worked with us four days, we wanted to see where he was at and he worked extremely hard. So we’re going to give him some time and let these young guys work.”

The Falcons experienced missing both White and Jones for three games as a duo in 2013. Both players missed a combined 14 games last season, with Julio missing 11 of those games. Jones injured his foot against the Jets in the Falcons’ fourth loss of season and then had to undergo season ending foot surgery.

Julio is expected to be ready to go for the start of training camp and says that everything with his foot injury rehab is going according to plan.

“I’m back doing the little things that I used to do,” Jones said. “I feel like I’m actually stronger now, because I’ve been doing back squats. That’s getting my quads even stronger, more so than my hamstrings. That might have been a problem as well, because I went through a lot of tests at labs to balance my strength in my quads, hamstrings, and glutes to make sure everything is equal. This is so I don’t put that amount of force and pressure on the outside of my foot.”

Jones says that with going through these lab tests, it has put his mind at ease about his past foot issues. They won’t be a thought in his mind and now he can just play football.

Now that the Falcons have experienced life without their two star receivers on the field, they know that other players can step in to make meaningful contributions. One of those guys is veteran receiver Harry Douglas, coming off a career year in 2013. During his fifth NFL season, Douglas picked up 85 catches for just under 1,100 yards with two touchdown catches. All of these numbers more than doubling his total’s in the other four seasons. This being the case, Douglas is still looking for more in 2014 and beyond.

“I want to have a better year than I did last year,” Douglas said. “You never want to be satisfied or content with what you did a year before, because you’re only as good as your last game.”

Douglas continued on by saying that he’s tried to get physically stronger after last season and notices that he’s paying very even closer attention to the details on the practice field.

Douglas says that he’s been impressed with the rookie wide receivers that are in camp with the Falcons, by their ability to retain the information from the meeting rooms and playbooks. One player that has caught his eye is undrafted free agent wide receiver Bernard Reedy out of Toldeo.

“He’s fast, quick, and very smart,” Douglas said. “He can play. He’s a tough guy and whenever you have a guy like that, he’s going to open eyes.”

Tuesday was also the first time that Roddy White spoke to the media, since his younger brother was murdered in South Carolina. He says that Smith, quarterback Matt Ryan and other teammates have helped him deal with this grieving process.

“It meant a lot to me for those guys to come down there when I went through that with my little brother,” White said. “We always preach family here, Julio and Harry came down. They’re like brothers to me. It was an emotional time for me and for them to help me get through that was tremendous.”

White seemed to be in a good mood on Tuesday while field questions from the media. However he does say that he still thinks about his brother every day, especially the fact they came from a single parent household and Roddy had to be a father figure to him.

The Falcons will finish up their three day mini-camp on Thursday and break until the start of training camp in August.


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