Atlanta Falcons (GASP!) open minicamp

Ya’ll know who the most paranoid man in the NFL is. It’s Bill Beli-cheat of the New England Patriots.

When Belichick disciples leave the Patriots nest, they’ve generally been just as, or more paranoid than The Big Guy. Charlie Weis at Notre Dame, Eric Mangini in New York and now Cleveland, Josh McDaniels in Denver and Scott Pioli in Kansas City have all gone into bunker mode and shut out the media and fans.

So in Atlanta, we see a refreshing change from a former New England guy. As the Falcons wrap up a mini camp today, the practice is closed. However, the first two days were just like training camp. The Falcons, and General Manager Thomas Dimitrov, recognized that, in this economy and with the wealth of choices for uses of disposable income, every goodwill gesture to the fans is valuable.

Are the Falcons going to run plays in a May practice that will determine the outcome of a game in September? No. They’re trying to evaluate young players and make sure everyone is on the same page. Here’s the fact of the matter…if you’re putting in key plays during minicamp, many players are going to forget the plays anyway. Even as a former Patriot employee, Dimitrov was convinced that opening minicamp was the right move.


There isn’t a fan or media member that’s going to call up other teams and tell them exactly what play the Falcons are running. And Mike Smith and his staff are smart enough to change anything that might have been a key.

Kudos to the Falcons for shedding a league-wide paranoia. Hopefully more teams will come to understand that keeping and getting customers is more important than keeping imaginary secrets from imaginary spies.