The Atlanta Falcons move closer to the start of Friday's training camp with the veterans set to report on Thursday. Media access to those players will take place from 1-2 p.m.
Here are five questions regarding the vets in preparation for camp:
1. How much does Steven Jackson have left in the tank? The veteran running back just turned 31 on Tuesday and enters his 11th NFL season. The Falcons would be happy to get one more good year out of him. Jackson averaged a career-low 3.5 yards per carry last season, but he suffered an early season hamstring injury and ran behind a pathetic offensive line. A revamped front five and a renewed emphasis on the run should help Jackson's cause. He never appears to be out of shape and has a little added motivation with rookie Devonta Freeman now in the mix.
2. How will Julio Jones react to his first real contact? Of course everyone is wondering how Jones will respond coming off a second surgery on his right foot. He looked ready to go this offseason while performing drills and running routes on a side field. Folks will breathe easier when Jones actually leaps into the air and lands on his foot without hesitation. The Falcons won't push him too hard at first, but you can bet Jones will try to push himself to the limit to show there are no lingering concerns.
3. Can Sam Baker's left knee hold up for an entire season? We will see. Baker didn't take any days off this offseason while returning from a major knee surgery. At first glance, he didn't seem to favor the knee. But apparently, he did experience just a tad bit of soreness when the team practiced indoors. If Baker remains healthy, the Falcons have full confidence in him being the left tackle he was during the 2012 season. If he doesn't, then we might see rookie Jake Matthews on the left side.
4. Will Lamar Holmes step up his game? He has to, or he might find himself on the outside looking in. Holmes did not impress this offseason as he moved to a backup role. He started 15 games last season on an offensive line that struggled miserably. Still, the Falcons believed in his potential. He might be running out of chances, however. In all fairness, Holmes did deal with a death in the family this offseason, so you never know how that affected him. He has to regain his focus and show himself capable of contributing, possibly as the swing tackle, although Ryan Schraeder looks like a better candidate for that job.
5. Will Jonathan Massaquoi establish himself as the team's go-to pass-rusher? It would be nice if he did. He has been touted as the guy who will emerge as the best of the bunch, but the most noise we heard from Massaquoi this offseason related to his skirmishes with Baker. The Falcons won't find a quality pass-rusher on the street at this stage, even after cuts. So it is up to Massaquoi to show he can get to the quarterback consistently. The exhibitions and joint practices against the Texans and Titans should reveal more about what to expect from Massaquoi.