Day 2 of Falcons minicamp a bit fiesty

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The second day of the Atlanta Falcons' three-day minicamp got pretty interesting toward the end.

Left tackle Sam Baker, who missed a large part of last season with a knee injury, was red in the face coming off the field after a skirmish toward the end of practice. Apparently, Baker got into it with outside linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi, and a few others jumped in after it started.

When asked what happened, Baker said he didn't know. Baker and Massaquoi engaged in a little shoving match after the first minicamp practice on Tuesday.

The Falcons have preached all offseason about being bigger, tougher, and stronger. Maybe a little tension in practice isn't such a bad thing.

Head coach Mike Smith didn't exactly discourage it.

"Concern me? No," Smith said. "You want your guys to keep their composure, but there are going to be times that tempers flare. We talked about competition. We want it to be competitive. Thought it was a competitive practice."

Here are a few other items from Wednesday's practice plus five players to watch on Thursday's final day of minicamp:

  • William Moore was excused from Wednesday's practice for personal reasons, Smith said.

  • Robert McClain stepped in at right cornerback and made some plays with Desmond Trufant resting on the sideline. Trufant got some treatment on his calf during Tuesday's practice, so it must have lingered.

  • Undrafted receiver Bernard Reedy from Toledo continued to impress with his ability to dart down the field and catch the deep ball. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound speedster wowed some of his defensive teammates with a quick cut after a catch.

  • Tight end Levine Toilolo made a nice leaping grab in the red zone near the end of practice, showing the skills that should make him a legitimate scoring threat come the regular season.

  • Rookie outside linebacker Tyler Starr earned some praise from his veteran teammates for his relentless rush.

  • Nickel back Javier Arenas had an interception. Rookie safety Dez Southward also had one off a tipped pass.

  • Defensive line coach Bryan Cox was hard on outside linebacker Stansly Maponga throughout the day. That tells me Cox sees the potential in Maponga.

  • Roddy White, who is resting during minicamp, said he was barred from throwing passes to his fellow receivers during individual drills, as he did Tuesday. White joked that he would be bored for the rest of camp.


1. Josh Wilson, CB: The veteran is getting a chance to compete at the nickel back spot with McClain and Arenas. McClain and Arenas made their presence known the first two days. Now it's Wilson's turn.

2. Prince Shembo, ILB: The Falcons brought Jonathan Vilma in for a workout but didn't sign him or any other veteran. They obviously have faith in their young linebackers following Sean Weatherspoon's season-ending Achilles tear. Shembo might have the biggest upside of them all and needs to show it going into training camp.

3. Ra'Shede Hageman, DE: All the fans have asked about Hageman's progress, but he hasn't been too noticeable just yet. But that could be a good thing, too, because it means he's not making blatant mistakes, either.

4. Darius Johnson, WR: Johnson made a strong impression as an undrafted signee last year. With another undrafted receiver, Reedy, earning recognition, Johnson might want to step up his game so he's not forgotten.

5. Peter Konz, C: Konz was supposed to get a chance to compete for the starting job at center, but Joe Hawley is a lock, barring injury. Now the coaches are starting to give Mike Johnson reps at center. Konz already lost his starting job. Could he lose out as the backup, too?