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Four questions following Atlanta Falcons offseason workouts

The Atlanta Falcons’ minicamp signifies the end of the team’s offseason workouts under first year coach Dan Quinn and a lot was accomplished. The new offenses and defenses have been installed and the team will use training camp to fine tune them.

But the Falcons will still have a few question marks they have to answer if they want to overcome consecutive losing seasons.

Here are the top four questions the Falcons still need to answer:

1. Who will be the team’s running back?

Second-year back Devonta Freeman was said to be “clearly ahead” of rookie Tevin Coleman by AJC.com. Still, no official word has come from Quinn.

I’m sure both Quinn and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan want to see what both players can do once the pads are on before making a decision.

While Coleman has the better rushing pedigree, at least in college, pass catching will also be a key in this offense and Freeman has that ability going back to his college days at Florida State.

Regardless, both players will see a lot of time.

2. With Harry Douglas gone, who is the team’s third receiver?

The team’s top two pass catchers are set with Julio Jones and Roddy White. But after cutting Harry Douglas, the team needs a consistent No. 3. There are a ton of choices.

Devin Hester is still there but he has never been a consistent receiver with the Falcons or the Chicago Bears. The same with Eric Weems who is mainly a special teams player.

The Atlanta Falcons are hoping Devin Hester can emerge as a consistent No. 3 option at WR.

The Atlanta Falcons are hoping Devin Hester can emerge as a consistent No. 3 option at WR.

Leonard Hankerson has experience and the team signed free-agent receiver Carlton Mitchell late last week. Those two guys are more outside guys. The team could move White into the slot position if one of them emerges.

Keep an eye on rookie Justin Hardy from East Carolina. He caught a lot of balls in college, especially from the slot position.

3. Will the offensive line be settled?

Center Joe Hawley returned to practice for minicamp but was clearly limited with his knee. The Falcons hope he is ready. If not, the club has two options: James Stone, who took the first-team reps during offseason training activities (OTAs) and Chris Chester, a guard who can also play center.

But center isn’t the only concern among a group that has to perform better than they did last year.

Right guard Jon Asamoah did not participate in the minicamp because of an ankle injury. It is not believed to be serious but it is something to keep an eye on.

Also, while left tackle Jake Matthews returned to practice on a limited basis, Lamar Holmes broke his foot and is out indefinitely, according to AJC.com. Holmes mostly played backup right tackle to Ryan Schraeder. The Falcons’ depth along the line is taking an early hit.

4. Is Ricardo Allen the answer at safety?

Drafted as a cornerback, second-year Ricardo Allen has worked a lot at safety during OTAs. Can he make the transition?

Charles Godfrey, who signed a one-year deal, is the obvious front-runner at free safety but it appears Allen showed enough that it isn’t a done deal.

Even if he doesn’t start, Allen could provide the Falcons with someone who is versatile enough to play at both positions if needed.

Stay tuned as these questions won’t be answered until training camp.

Notes: The Falcons will open their 50th training camp on July 31 at the team’s Flowery Branch headquarters. The camp, which is scheduled to last through Aug. 19, will have a lot of open times for the public. For a complete list of the scheduled times of the Falcons’ camp, click here.


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