- Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles told reporters that the team is still waiting on test results before making a decision on injured C Ryan Jensen. (Jenna Laine)
“For a guy his size, with his catch radius, his length and his ability to get in and out of cuts makes it easy on us,” Mariota said, via AtlantaFalcons.com. “His body language as a receiver makes it simple. You know when he’s coming in and out of breaks. We know when he’s going to break down. It’s really a credit to him. I think that, as we continue to jell, our chemistry will continue to grow.”
“Everyone has a skill set and everyone can get better at some things,” Mariota continued. “For Kyle, it’s about continuing to push some of those things so he can run anything on the field. That allows him to get into different situations and different matchups. I wouldn’t compare Kyle to anybody else. He has a very unique skill set, one that benefits us. We just have to find ways to get him the ball.”
- Falcons HC Arthur Smith said LG Jalen Mayfield missed Friday’s practice due to a lower back issue. (Michael Rothstein)
Panthers first-round OT Ikem Ekwonu is still working with the second unit on offense. Panthers HC Matt Rhule said Ekwonu needs to earn his starting spot on the team’s offensive line.
“To me, Ickey’s a rookie. He’s gotta earn everything he gets, and he’s got a long way to go,” Rhule said, via Joe Person of The Athletic. “He does some things really well naturally. He’s unbelievably powerful and talented. But there’s a lot to this game. There’s a lot of nuances and techniques and all those things. He has a long way to go. He’ll get there, but every day he’s gotta work.”
Rhule doesn’t believe in handing players starting jobs, regardless of draft pedigree. If Ekwonu wants to become an opening day starter, he’s going to have to make it obvious that he deserves the spot. Rhule believes that Ekwonu will do what it takes to earn his spot and reiterated that it won’t simply be handed to him.
“We’ve got good players on the offensive line. So we’re not just gonna hand him anything,” Rhule said. “He’s going to go earn it. And knowing Ickey, I think that’s probably the way he likes it.”