Falcons wrap up combined practice, prep for game day


A couple of days in the Texas heat and the Falcons are finished with their practices against the Texans. This work might be done, but now these two teams get to face each other on Saturday night inside NRG Stadium.

The good news is that head coach Mike Smith got his wish and the teams didn’t get into fights while practicing with each other in Houston. We’ve heard it numerous times from Smith, that he doesn’t want his guys fighting… They should be fighting for jobs. In fact, we even heard him say similar words to his team this past week’s on ‘Hard Knocks.’

As the work wrapped on Thursday, Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora says good work was put in by both teams.

“They’re a good team,” Umenyiora said. “They’re up and coming and they’re very well coached. So it was good to get out here and go up against different guys and work on a different technique than we’ve been doing throughout training camp. I think there was a lot of positive things, but we saw a lot of things that we need to work on also.”

Today we also got an even better view of Texans defensive end JJ Watt going up against Falcons rookie right tackle Jake Matthews. Watt was impressed with Matthews.

“He’s got good potential,” Watt said. “Obviously he’s a young guy and he comes from a great pedigree. I think he’s going to be a pretty good player down the line.”

Matthews got an eyeful of JJ Watt during the practice and a couple of times fell victim to the same moves that has made the Texans defensive end one of the best in the NFL. Just like Watt for Matthews, the Falcons right tackle has respect for his opponent.

“He’s a hell of a player, really good,” Matthews said. “That was really special for me. That was something that I needed, because I want to go against the best players to be the best player that I can be. He’s going to show you all the best looks in the league. So, that was really good.”

The Falcons are still in a competition on the offensive line to see who will be the starting center this season between Joe Hawley and Peter Konz. This is after they had Todd McClure as their starting center for 13 straight seasons. The Texans on the other hand have had Chris Myers as their center for the better part of the last six seasons. That said, he’s seen a lot of impressive defensive fronts and says he’s impressed with the Falcons newly assembled three man front.

“Talented front upfront,” Myers said. “They’ve always had some talented players, but they’ve got a lot vets up there right now playing. To have that experience and that knowledge, is going to help them out big time.”

The Falcons closed out their combined practice without wide receiver’s Julio Jones or Roddy White taking part in the practice. Both players were given a scheduled day off from the work.

Now the Falcons will just have a walkthrough tomorrow at Rice University, before they take on the Texans Saturday night inside NRG Stadium.


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