FLOWERY BRANCH – A good number of questions come my way each day—and rightfully so—about rookie cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Now that Day 1 of the Atlanta Falcons 2013 training camp is in the books, I can give an update.
The duo isn’t ready yet, at least not to start in the NFL.
Before you go bonkers and jump off a bridge thinking the Falcons’ season is sure to be a disaster, remember that this is the first day of camp. While expectations for Atlanta’s first-round pick (Trufant) and second-round pick (Alford) are high, no one thought they’d come into camp NFL ready.
“I know they were out there competing,” head coach Mike Smith said after Thursday’s practice. “They’re going to have a tough day every day. They’re going against, in my mind, two of the best receivers in the NFL, and that’s good for us. We’ve got to get these guys ready, and there’s no two better to have to go out and work against.”
Quarterback Matt Ryan was in sync with both his receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones Thursday. At one point during one-on-one drills Jones put a nasty double-move on Trufant and caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Ryan.
Jones and White both caught passes with Alford in coverage as well. It wasn’t just Trufant that was getting worked over by the dynamic duo. Smith said after practice that he felt the Ryan threw the ball well. “We were very efficient and throwing the football.”
The offense did have a great day passing, but Trufant and Alford still have work to do. They were both definitely a step slow on their first day in camp. It’s as if we could visibly see them thinking instead of reacting. As camp progresses the two rookie corners will begin to move first and think second as the defense becomes second nature.
Smith said Thursday was just the third day the team had installed with its veterans and the rookies had seen this for just two and half days.
Ryan also connected on a deep go-route to Jones in 7-on-7 drills for a score with cornerback Robert McClain in coverage. The rookie corners weren’t the only defensive backs that got beat by the offense on Day 1 of camp.