2005 Training Camp News and Notes

Jim Mora

FLOWERY BRANCH - News and notes from Atlanta's first day back at camp after Tokyo.

Michael "Mookie" Moore was the left guard starter against the Colts, but Mora said the coaching staff could decide to give Matt Lehr the privilege against Baltimore.

"It's not over by a long shot," Mora said. "Those two guys are having a heck of a battle."

The two veterans are competing for the job that Roberto Garza held for 17 games last year. Moore was named the starter entering Week 1 victory at San Francisco, but he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the game.

Compared to competitions for other jobs, Mora believes the Falcons will settle on a left guard soon.

"The sooner we can distinguish who the starter will be, the better it's going to be for us and also for the continuity of the offensive line as a starting unit," Mora said. "You want those five guys working together, working with the running backs, and it determines who our backups are."

Former position coach Alex Gibbs, the "consultant" who plans to work just three days a week this season and avert chance of burnout by staying home during games, traveled with the team to Tokyo.

"He should be here for all the preseason games," Mora said of the longtime coaching veteran who designed blocking schemes that helped Atlanta lead the NFL in rushing last year. "(Gibbs' replacement, former tight ends coach Joe Jagodzinski) has done an outstanding job, and not a whole lot of guys can handle the transition the way Jags has. Because Alex is still prominent, and rightfully so, Jeff has done a really good job with those players."

ACHES AND PAINS: Tight end Alge Crumpler (knee), defensive end Patrick Kerney (neck), running back T.J. Duckett (hamstring) and fullback Justin Griffith (ankle) made the trip but didn't play.

Crumpler was held out when the team decided to keep him off the hard artificial turf at the Tokyo Dome. The others left for Japan knowing they wouldn't play. ...

Mora indicated that third-string fullback Carey Davis (knee) could miss significant time.

"We don't know the extent of it," Mora said, "but it doesn't look good right now." ...

Defensive tackle Brandon Mitchell (back) will likely miss his third straight week.

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