Camp report: A heavier DeAngelo Malone focused on technique, Marcus Mariota, Feleipe Franks, Cordarrelle Patterson and more from Falcons practice

FLOWER BRANCH, Ga. – Too small. Very thin.

DeAngelo Malone has heard it all before. It was like that in high school and then when he was trying to find college. Then it came up again during the pre-draft process. Is there anyone Atlanta’s size to compete at the NFL level?

Malone can answer that for you: Heck yes.

He is determined to prove that in his rookie season, playing for his hometown team. The Falcons drafted the Western Kentucky product in the third round, believing his tenacity, speed and bend can help him make mistakes off the edge.

We’re like a flash of that during Falcons training camp, both one-on-ones — Malone cam whip around the ball with flashes — and team ball.

Malone also says he’s carrying extra weight — eight or nine pounds by his count — which helps bolster him defensively without sacrificing speed.

“Technology over everything,” said Malone, who is listed at 243 pounds. “If you have that, there’s no reason why you can’t hit offensively.”

Technique is key. He also has more moves than just running around, although he’s not showing what’s in his bag of tricks. There is another ‘T’ word, however, that is key to his game.

“It’s definitely a trademark,” Malone said. “Since I was young, I used to play with a gift on my shoulder because of my disbelief, people have always said that I am small and thin.

“I feel comfortable playing the way I am. People always want to talk about me being young. It’s not about size. It’s about heart and skill and drive. I come out here and try to prove myself every day.”

Mariota has a great day/preseason activity

Mariota has nice day/preseason workload

Falcons first-team quarterback Marcus Mariota threw a few passes on Tuesday, including one that bounded through a tight window, eluding the quarterback and putting it where he knew KhaDarel Hodge would be. This may interest you : Ryan Reynolds seeks football advice for Wrexham AFC from David Beckham. It was a professional-level throw and a strong sign for Mariota and the Falcons offense as a whole after recent days of padded performance.

Mariota believes he’s finding a good balance, even when working with the rotation, as we head into Friday’s preseason opener in Detroit.

Arthur Smith said that both Mariota and Ridder will play with the Lions, although the split would not be 50-50, meaning that Ridder will see the majority of the time on the field.

Mariota, for his part, is ready for whatever comes. He didn’t sacrifice the extra game time needed to get a better bond with his new team.

“I’ll play the way he lets me play,” Mariota said. “I just want to play football. Whatever they decide, whatever the gameplan is, I’m going to go out there and have fun playing.”

It is also possible that Feleipe Franks works other call signs. He spent most of his time at tight end but ran selected times at quarterback. He made a nice throw late in Tuesday’s quarter, connecting with Stanley Berryhill on the big play. While his well-documented draft is going well, Franks remains an emergency option at quarterback.

“Yeah, it depends on how the [Lions] game goes,” Smith said. “But, of course, he has to get ready to go.”

Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Rick Leonard #71 and offensive lineman Leroy Watson #72 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowey Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons running back Damien Williams #6 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons tackle Kaleb McGary #76 and offensive lineman Tyler Vrabel #73 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons free safety Dean Marlowe #21 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota #1 and running back Damien Williams #6 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Kuony Deng #52, outside linebacker Quinton Bell #56, and linebacker Jordan Brailford #49 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowey Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/ Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Fans arrive during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons defensive back Cornell Armstrong #25 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Cameron Batson #16 and safety Erik Harris #23 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Feleipe Franks #15 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons safety Henry Black #36 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons defensive back Cornell Armstrong #25 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons running back Caleb Huntley #42 running back Tyler Allgeier #25 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flory Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Anthony Rush #94 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Abdullah Anderson #65 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett #97 and defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham #95 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flory Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/ Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons welcome back Frank Darby #88 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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A full helmet view as Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson #84 signs autographs for fans during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flory Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood /Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons linebacker Troy Andersen #44 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons running back A.J. Terrell #24 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Tyler Vrabel #73 and edge DeAngelo Malone #51 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London #5 and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge #12 during AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Abdullah Anderson #65 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Lorenzo Carter #9 and edge DeAngelo Malone #51 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson #84 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Fans sit on the mound during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons defensive back Dee Alford #37 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier #25 and safety Richie Grant #27 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Matt Hankins #43 and tight end Parker Hesse #46 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Tyler Vrabel #73 and linebacker Lorenzo Carter #9 during the AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flower Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

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Other news and notes

Defensive lineman Marlon Davidson missed Tuesday’s practice. On the same subject : Indiana cheerleader who saved ball during first round saved NIL deal. Smith did not give a specific update but said his absence was not serious.

The midfield rotation continues with Matt Hennessy working with the first team after Drew Dalman had the job the day before. Elijah Wilkinson continues to work at first base at left tackle, as he has done since the second day of camp.

Bryan Edwards was back in a yellow non-contact jersey during Tuesday’s practice, which indicates a lack of contact. He’s dressed every other day but Monday — the Falcons weren’t in pads — since returning from a shoulder/arm issue.

It’s always hard to get a big gauge on the run game without facing life, but Cordarrelle Patterson had a few solid reps running the outside and the left side of the offense looked to be blocked. He seemed to always find space there, able to find space for long stretches.

I’ve mentioned KhaDarel Hodge a few times – he’s one of my favorites in this camp – but he’s a tough player who finds ways to get out. He got some repeats with the first unit. He’s mostly in the mix for a roster spot at the back end of his position group.

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