Defense looked to be a rising strength for the Atlanta

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Defense looked to be a rising strength for the Atlanta

Messaggioda zhangzk » gio lug 11, 2019 3:30 am

FLOWERY BRANCH Quinnen Williams Jersey , Ga. (AP) — Falcons in their 2016 Super Bowl season and especially in their return to the playoffs in 2017.A wave of devastating injuries that began with the opening game of 2018 crushed that momentum.Now that the injured players are healing, linebacker Deion Jones said the Falcons’ defense has to prove itself again.“That chip is on our shoulders and we can’t wait to get back” and show everyone, Jones said Wednesday after the second day of the mandatory three-day minicamp.Jones was placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken right foot in the Falcons’ loss to Philadelphia to open the 2018 season. Another key starter, safety Keanu Neal, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the same game. The Falcons’ other starting safety, Ricardo Allen, also was lost for the season before the first month was over.Jones returned for the final five games , but it was too late to save the depleted Falcons from a 7-9 finish.The Falcons are being cautious with some key players in the offseason. Jones and Allen have been observers in the minicamp but are expected to be cleared for next month’s training camp. Of the defensive starters returning from injuries, only Neal has participated in the minicamp, and coaches have limited his snaps.Jones’ path to full health has been unusual. He had surgery following the injury before making his return late last season and then moving back into a rehab schedule.“I’m feeling real good ,” Jones said. “I just can’t wait to get back out there with my boys and run around.”Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett also has been an observer in the minicamp after he skipped organized team activities (OTAs).Coach Dan Quinn has taken over the defense this season. He is looking forward to having the full unit healthy for the first time in almost a year.“I think we’ve had really good practices, the nine OTAs and into the minicamp and I would imagine it would get that much better,” Quinn said. “Already some really good practices that will be even better adding Grady and Deion and Ricardo and Keanu back into it in a full-time swing.”Perhaps no player is more important to Atlanta’s hopes of a defensive resurgence than Jones, the signal-caller for the unit whose speed provides big-play potential. He tied for fourth in the league with 138 tackles in 2017.At 6-foot-1, 222 pounds, Jones ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at his pro day at LSU in 2016. It was good news for Jones and the Falcons when he returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown in a win over Arizona after returning late last season.“Still working on it,” said Jones of his rehab. “But yeah, for sure, the speed is still there.”NOTES: Quinn said CBs Jayson Stanley and Rashard Causey, rookie OT Kaleb McGary and RB Ito Smith were players who stood out in the practice. “I’ve been pleased with the attitude and the intensity and the learning that is taking place Jachai Polite Jersey ,” Quinn said. … Quinn said WR Russell Gage has been an offseason surprise. Gage’s value is boosted by his ability to play multiple spots and his role on special teams. JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars got some much-needed help for new quarterback Nick Foles.Jacksonville moved up three spots to choose Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor in the second round Friday night and then selected San Jose State tight end Josh Oliver in the third. Both should be step-in starters for an offense that ranked last in the NFL in touchdowns (22) in 2018.The Jaguars also picked Murray State linebacker Quincy Williams late in the third round (No. 98 overall), adding the older brother of New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. The Jets took Quinnen Williams with the third overall pick.Taylor replaces veteran Jermey Parnell, who was let go before free agency. Oliver supplants Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who caught 11 passes in five games in his only season in Jacksonville.The Jaguars had planned to add pieces around Foles, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract that included $50.125 million guaranteed. But the team changed direction when Kentucky defensive end Josh Allen fell to No. 7 in the first round Thursday.The Jags turned their attention to the other side of the ball in Day 2.They sent picks 38 and 109 (fourth round) to Oakland in exchange for Nos. 35, 140 (fifth) and 235 (seventh). General manager Dave Caldwell said he failed to trade into the bottom of the first round to grab Taylor, who grew up about two hours down the road in Cocoa and lost 80 pounds to land a scholarship with the Gators.Taylor, who spends much of his free time fishing Chuma Edoga Jersey , said staying in the Sunshine State was the ideal scenario. How it happened left the 6-foot-5, 312-pound lineman perplexed and perturbed.There were reports that a torn meniscus in 2017 caused teams some concern, but Caldwell said Jacksonville’s doctors had no worries about Taylor’s health. Taylor skipped the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and his on-campus pro day because of a strained hamstring.“The medical reports are definitely false. I’m 100 percent healthy and ready to go,” said Taylor, who stayed in Nashville, Tennessee, for the draft and got his moment on the big stage. “It hurt a little bit last night that you couldn’t see the reason was why I didn’t get picked. …I’m a little upset, but everything happens for a reason.”Taylor fills the team’s most gaping hole, where Jacksonville let 32-year-old Parnell walk and have little depth at the position.The Jags signed former Cincinnati right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi to a one-year deal in free agency and re-signed oft-injured Josh Wells. They also drafted Will Richardson in the fourth round in 2018. But none of them was considered a long-term answer at the position.Taylor is. He was a three-year starter at Florida and part of an offensive line that allowed just 18 sacks in 2018. He spent the last few months honing his technique with veteran NFL offensive line coach Bob Palcic in Pensacola.He also had a private workout with Jacksonville, doing enough to land on the team’s radar — and prompt Caldwell and personnel chief Tom Coughlin to scramble to get him in the second round.“We thought that he would be long gone by then Trevon Wesco Jersey ,” Caldwell said. “He’s big, strong and powerful.”So is the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Oliver, who will compete with newcomer Geoff Swaim for playing time.Oliver’s specialty is getting open. He had 98 receptions for 1,067 yards and seven touchdowns in four seasons with the Spartans. He caught 56 passes for 709 yards and four touchdowns as a senior in 2018 despite San Jose State starting three different quarterbacks.“I definitely like to (pattern) my game after (Hall of Famer) Tony Gonzalez,” Oliver said. “As a freshman coming in, my college coach showed me a lot of Tony Gonzalez’s tape so I like to do as much as he can because I consider him one of the greatest to ever play.”

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