Quinn fine with ‘players only’ passing camp

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Dan Quinn is just fine with quarterback Matt Ryan calling a ‘player’s only’ passing camp that started on Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

We reported that the camp would be in South Florida in February, but didn’t have the exact dates nailed down. Some field work and some off-the-field bonding is part of the schedule. (South Beach!!!)

“I think that bond that takes place among your team, is an important one,” Quinn said when asked about the camp. “We have nine weeks over the offseason where they get to hang and build that relationship on and off the field. It’s not only a player-to-coach relationships that are important, but also player-to-player relationships. That’s where the locker room is formed. Every year it’s different team to team.”

Julio Jones

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones carries the ball during Team Irvin’s practice Thursday in Kahuku, Hawaii. (Marco Garcia/AP)

Ryan thought it would be a good idea for the Falcons to get together this offseason to fine-tune the nuances of the new offense, which offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan installed last season. At times, it looked like Ryan didn’t fit into the attack with all of the rollouts and some of the passes to the wide boundary.

Ryan was floating some balls and he threw 16 interceptions and lost 5 fumbles. He was a big part of why the Falcons were minus-7 in the turnover differential, which was 27th in the league.

The camp will give the players a sense of what they can achieve in the offense.

The Falcons — through our pal @FalconsKelsey — reported that Ryan put together a group of 27 players, which included wide receiver Julio Jones and some defensive players, too. The plan was to work on the nuances of the passing attack.

Music mogul and First Amendment advocate Luther Campbell, who also mentored Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, tweeted out about the first session. They are set to hit the field again Wednesday morning.

Quinn is just fine with everything.

“I can’t wait for these guys to get back here on April 18th (for the offseason training program),” Quinn said. “Then we go for about two months together. That’s  really where you start making your moves prior to getting to camp.”

Ryan modeled the camp after the ones Peyton Manning used to hold when he was with the Indianapolis Colts. He had some help from former Colts and Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme, who’s part of the group.

If the offense can cut down its turnovers and the defense can create more, the Falcons will be on their way to catching the Panthers, who led the league with a plus-19 turnover differential last season. (More on that in the Cover 9@9 blog on Wednesday). 


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