White said he is using every opportunity to benefit from being around Gonzalez, whom he called “the greatest to ever play.”
“Anything that he does mention, you try to take in as much as possible and be a sponge,” White said. “At the same time, you don’t want to crowd a guy. We all have to act professionally and take care of our own business. Any knowledge that he does share, I’m trying to soak it up.”
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“I think behind the quarterback and the head coach, the left tackle is the most scrutinized position in the National Football League,'' Smith said. "We drafted Sam to be our left tackle. We felt when we drafted him that he had the skill set to play left tackle. I think the thing that people don’t realize when analyzing our football team and analyzing Sam is, Sam has been very resilient. Sam has fought through a lot of injuries through his first four years in the league. I see his toughness. We see his toughness as a staff and an organization and believe that, if he stays healthy, he’s going to be a very productive offensive tackle for a long time to come. We drafted him for that.
Advantage: Falcons' pass defense vs. Panthers' pass offense
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The Falcons played well against Cam Newton in 2011 allowing just two touchdowns and intercepting him five times in the two games last year. The Falcons matchup is only going to get better with Dunta Robinson at the nickel and bringing in Asante Samuel.
Through the first six practices of training camp, Falcons rookie linebacker Jerrell Harris has successfully made a good first impression and has caught the eye of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
Then he flipped on the serious switch. “I think he stands out because of his size, everybody is impressed with his size,” Nolan said. “He moves well for a big man.”
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