Wide receiver Julio Jones recorded five receptions for 71 yards in his pro debut, including a team long 32-year reception against the Chicago Bears. He finished his rookie campaign with 54 catches for 959 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing three games with an injury.
Jones posted the best season by a rookie in franchise history, notching more yards and touchdowns than any first-year receiver in the club’s 45-year history. Only wide receiver Shawn Collins caught more passes in his first season with the club when he pulled down 58 balls in 1989.
Atlanta’s defensive line hit the sled in Tuesday afternoon’s practice. In 2011, the Falcons held opponents to 97.0 rushing yards per game, which ranked sixth in the League.
Head Coach Mike Smith
July 31, 2012 Press Conference
On Goal-Line Drill To End Practice:
“I thought it was fun for the guys. We wanted to give them a little real competitive finish to the day. The offense won 2-1. They had the ball on the three yard line, the two yard line, and the one yard line and they won 2-1,” Smith said.
“It brought out the competitive juices in everybody. It’ll be fun to watch the tape with the guys in the meeting tonight. I think there was some good execution on the offensive side, and I thought there was some good hard running; it wasn’t like they walked in,” he added.
“They went behind our young offensive line, but it was the young guys going against the young guys. That’s how we wanted to finish it off today. They didn’t know it was coming it was a little bit off a surprise. I think it gives a real good mindset as we go into our day off in terms of what we want to get done.”
On What Was Installed Today:
“We did our no huddle offense. Goal line and short yardage were the two emphasis points. We had walked through our no huddle earlier in camp and it was the first time we worked on it against each other. The emphasis point today was goal line and short yardage,” Smith said.
“We did some red zone in our skelly period as well. Now we’ve got to refine it. We’re basically set for in the game situations. We’ve exposed our guys to almost every situation that’s going to come out there.”
On How Coaches Will Spend Day Off:
“It’s not our day off. We’ll use tomorrow to catch up on film,” Smith said. ”We’ll take a good hard look at the first six days of training camp. It’s been new sequencing for us. While it’s fresh in our mind, things that we’ll do differently if we so chose next year.”
“Then we’ll also finalize our plans because of the next two events we have coming is Friday Night Lights,” he added. ”We’ve got to work through the final logistics, more of getting the players into the stadium, warming up. We’re going to a place we’ve never been before, and then the same thing with Dalton.”
“At the tail end of the day we’ll start revisiting our first two regular season opponents,” he continued. ”We’ve done our off-season study, but go back to working on some of the things that we like offensively, defensively, and special teams wise.”
On Using Cornerbacks Asante Samuel and Brent Grimes in Nickel Package:
“I think it’s been very advantageous for us as evaluators, and I think it’s been advantageous for the guys,” Smith said.
“Matchups are so crucial in the game, especially in your sub package. You’ve got to be able to matchup at times, and we’re going to have that flexibility. We’re going to have multiplicity in what we’re doing defensively in terms of where guys are going to line up. The one thing that I think has been pretty consistent is our nickel corner; we’ve been trying to get Dunta (Robinson) as many snaps as we can inside.”
On Whether Brent Grimes Will Adjust To Being On The Right Side of The Field:
“Brent’s played both sides. Asante’s played both sides. There’s been times when he was in the system in Philadelphia they’ve asked him to line up and match a guy. He’s played left corner, and had to match guys. It’s something that we’re going through as a staff, and we want to expose those guys to as many things as we can. We’ll determine each week, as we evaluate where we’re at.”
Courtesy of Atlanta Falcons’ Press Release