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Falcons Training Camp Notebook: Marcus Mariota Stout as Drake London, A.J. Terrell Face Off

The one-stop shop for Falcons training camp observations, notes and news all throughout the preseason.

The Atlanta Falcons hit the field today for the third and final time of training camp's third week, and the team's opening preseason game on Friday is fast approaching.

The Falcons enter 2022 looking to improve on a 7-10 record from last season, the first of the new regime headlined by coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot.

With training camp well underway, the Falcons face several questions, but have five weeks to find the solutions.

Here's everything of note from Day 12 of camp ...

MARIOTA MAKES A STATEMENT

After a solid start, Atlanta's first-team offense struggled as training camp progressed, but veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota has found something the last two days, turning in two of his best performances thus far.

According to ESPN, Mariota went 13 of 18 in the competitive portions of the session, including several tight window balls and an outstanding deep ball that bounced off the hands of Olamide Zaccheaus.

The practice wasn't as kind to rookie signal caller Desmond Ridder, who went 9 of 14 with an interception by cornerback Dee Alford. Ridder's struggled pushing the ball downfield and doesn't seem as confident as Mariota when it comes to threading tight windows.

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Feleipe Franks also saw action as a passer, going 3 of 4 with an interception. Expect to see all three play against Detroit, with Ridder likely receiving the majority of snaps.

TERRELL LOCKS UP LONDON

Squarely in a transitional phase, the Falcons need foundational pieces. All-Pro corner A.J. Terrell certainly fits the bill, and Atlanta's optimistic that first-round receiver Drake London can grow into one.

Stepping into the No. 1 receiver role as a rookie, London will face the opponents' top corner from the jump, and there's no better way for him to prepare for the challenge than facing Terrell in practice. The two went up against each other Wednesday, with Terrell getting the better of London, much like he has all camp.

While London lost this rep to Terrell, the rookie had an otherwise solid day. He's continuously flashed throughout camp, offering glimpses of why Atlanta took him in the top 10 of April's draft. Reps like the one against Terrell should prove to be invaluable for London as he navigates his first professional campaign.

INJURIES, ABSENCES PILE UP

The Falcons' defense has taken several blows during training camp's first three weeks. Defensive tackles Vincent Taylor (Achilles) and Bryce Rodgers (knee) have been placed on IR, and on Wednesday, defensive end Marlon Davidson missed his second straight practice while nose tackle Anthony Rush didn't participate.

Further, starting safety Jaylinn Hawkins didn't finish practice due to a lower left leg injury, though he remained on the sideline with his helmet on after being looked at; it was an encouraging indication that one of Atlanta's breakout players of camp is likely not facing anything significant.

Smith continues to stress that the team has some players on different plans than others, resulting in periodical days off. He's also inferred that none of the non-IR injuries are too severe, though the staff won't push any of the players in the preseason opener.

The Falcons will fly to Detroit on Thursday before kicking off the stretch run of their preseason on Friday at 6 p.m.