Arthur Smith implores rookies to lean on Falcons veterans

NFL: AUG 05 Atlanta Falcons Training Camp

The Falcons have a balanced roster for the first time in forever. There’s elite talent and depth at a lot of positions as well as experience and lack thereof.

The strongest position groups are running back, tight end, offensive line, interior defensive line, and safety, while the weakest are quarterback, receiver, and linebackers, both off-ball and edge.

What’s most notable about the difference between this team compared to others from Arthur Smith’s tenure is the depth. The less notable contrast is the veteran presences, most of which are on the defensive side of the ball.

Calais Campbell, David Onyemata, Bud Dupree, and Jessie Bates III will provide immense value for the youngsters at their respective position groups — Ta’Quon Graham, Zach Harrison, Arnold Ebiketie, DeAngelo Malone, and Richie Grant.

However, it’s not just their position groups that can learn from the new veterans. Other green Falcons like Desmond Ridder, Bijan Robinson, Matthew Bergeron, Kyle Pitts, Drake London, etc. can learn from the elder statesmen on the field and off the field, which their head coach implores them to do.

“I told some of those young guys that it’s not just on the field, off the field, how they handle stuff, we’ve got great veterans in there,” coach Arthur Smith said.

“Like go ask them what they’re routines are, their habits, how they take care of themselves, sleep, all that stuff. Use that wisdom that’s in the locker room. Hopefully, they take advantage of it [and] don’t waste it.”

There’s a lot to being an NFL player. Not that I would know, but there’s a stark difference between being in college to being a grown adult with nobody monitoring your every move. You don’t have babysitters in the league, whereas many did in college. A lot of talented players never realize their full potential because of maturity and the inability to adapt to the NFL.

Arthur Smith is absolutely right in his advice to the young Falcons; lean on the veterans and learn.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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