Early impressions of the Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH, GA. -- The Falcons finished their morning minicamp practice and went through their interview sessions. I’ll be back in a few hours with a column on running back Michael Turner and how he’s looking a little different (in other words, slimmer) this year.

But before I get cranking on Turner, I wanted to share some quick observations from the morning session.

Everybody who was supposed to be here was here. No contract holdouts or anything like that. Peria Jerry, Harry Douglas and Jonathan Babineaux didn’t practice as they recover from injuries, but they were watching. Safety William Moore, who had been cleared to practice last week, didn’t practice because he suffered a slight injury in the weight room and the Falcons are being cautious with his recovery. Turner and quarterback Matt Ryan, who also was injured at the end of last year, were both completely healthy and able to practice.

Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is wearing No. 56. That’s the same number worn by Keith Brooking before he left for the Cowboys prior to last season. The Falcons are being a little coy with how they plan to use Weatherspoon and that will play out over time. Curtis Lofton, Mike Peterson and Stephen Nicholas ran with the first team Friday. Lofton’s not going anywhere. I’m guessing the Falcons see Weatherspoon as a replacement for Peterson, if the veteran shows any signs of slowing down. But I’m also thinking they view Weatherspoon as a potential upgrade over Nicholas. Either way, the Falcons now have some quality depth at linebacker.

Speaking of Peterson, I didn’t see any signs of his age catching up to him yet. He had a nice interception this morning. So did safety Thomas DeCoud.

Two rookies really stood out to me in the morning session. I saw cornerback Dominique Franks make an outstanding interception. Also saw receiver Kerry Meier make several nice catches.