Falcons wrap up first week of camp


It has been a tradition for the Falcons to end the first full week of training camp with a show for the fans.

Each year, the Falcons travel to a different high school for their Friday Night Lights Event. This year, the Falcons traveled to Archer High School and it was basically to show fans what a normal practice during training camp looks like as well as give the players a chance to officially scrimmage each for the first time in camp.

For head coach Mike Smith, this is one of the events his team does every year that he truly enjoys.

“This event is one of my favorite events,” Smith said. “I’m very familiar with high school football in the state of Georgia and Atlanta. I spent about 14 years recruiting Atlanta … and there’s nothing like a Friday night in this fall, late-summer in the state of Georgia.”

The event was a great way for the Falcons to conclude a productive first full week of camp. It started last Friday when the players had their first practice and got a lot accomplished on the field in terms of installing their plays and getting the new guys comfortable with the schemes.

Saturday marked the first time the Falcons had a “Falcon Walk” for fans and the competition for positions increased.

“The second day of practice, I thought, went well,” Smith said this past Saturday. “You can see that it is very competitive in a number of areas. The areas we have been discussing all offseason are going to be the areas of competition. We get through one more day tomorrow and we will get the opportunity to really evaluate these linemen when we get them into the pads.”

Smith was also like the way his team worked on Sunday, which is normally the hardest day of practice according to Smith. He said the player’s bodies aren’t used to the first two days, which is why the Sunday practice is usually more physically demanding.

But the Sunday practice got the players ready for the Monday practice which was the first time the team was in pads. That day along with the Tuesday practice were the first time the Falcons were able to really hit each other.

The players had Wednesday off and went to back to work on Thursday, which involved more physicality.

“The guys had the day off yesterday so we wanted to have some physical play out there and it was goal line and short yardage in our install,” Smith said. “So it worked out really good for us to go out and bang.”

But with the physicality of the first week, it comes with a price. While the Falcons have avoided major injures so far in training camp, the bumps and bruises have begun. Steven Jackson suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the week, but Smith said he will be ready to go for the opener.

“I don’t think it is going to be anything real significant,” Smith said. “He will be ready for the first game. I know that will be the next question. The second one, I will go ahead and tell you, it was [his] left hamstring. Last year it was the right hamstring.”

And during the Friday Night Lights Event, Dwight Lowery suffered a head injury.

“Things like that happen,” William Moore said. “Dwight is a heck of a player. I’m not sure what happened to him. I didn’t ask because I knew he was okay.”

The Falcons also lost Peria Jerry who decided to retire effective immediately. Jerry was the Falcons first round pick in 2009 and is coming off a season where he started 14 games and notched 3.5 sacks.

With the first week in the books, the second week of training camp will be more intense as the preseason really gets underway. The Falcons will practice again Saturday and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. On Monday, they will have a joint practice with the Tennessee Titians starting at 3 p.m. at Flowery Branch. The Falcons will be off Tuesday and they will have one more practice on Wednesday before they player their first preseason game on Friday when they face the Miami Dolphins at the Georgia Dome.

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