Hard Knocks debuts, Falcons open preseason with Dolphins


HBO’s hit series Hard Knocks debuted Tuesday and took viewers behind the scenes of Falcons’ training camp. Redemption from last year’s 4-12 season and establishing toughness with this year’s roster was the theme of the first episode and looks to be the baseline for the rest of the series. Within the first segments of the episode, the recurring fighting that occurred in Atlanta’s first week of action were highlighted. Later in the episode, Jake Matthews, Kroy Biermann, Joe Hawley, Jacques Smith and Ryan Schraeder were a few of the players involved in scuffles at practice.

The feisty Falcons were a high-energy unit each day of practice and especially on the first day with pads. The opening week of camp culminated at Archer High School for the annual Friday Night Lights celebration. Cameras mounted on skydivers landing on the field during the pregame and a flyover of the post- scrimmage fireworks show beautified what was a grueling, hard-fought Week 1 in Atlanta.

Next week’s episode will showcase the Falcons’ combined practice with the Tennessee Titans that took place this past week and also the first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins slated for Friday. The show airs each Tuesday at 10 p.m. on HBO and there are four more episodes. The Falcons camp schedule for next week will consist of a trip to Houston for a combined practice with the Texans before squaring off against them on Saturday at NRG Stadium in the second preseason game.


The Dolphins finished 8-8 in 2013 despite a 27-23 Week 3 victory over the Falcons that moved them to 3-0. Inconsistency has kept Miami from the playoffs since the 2008 season and after a slow offensive showing last year, Bill Lazor replaced Mike Sherman as the team’s offensive coordinator. Lazor actually spent the 2003 season as an assistant on the Falcons coaching staff and after several stops around the league he most recently served as the quar- terbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Lazor mentored Nick Foles during his breakout season, which resulted in an Eagles’ NFC East division title. This offense will be a great test for the Falcons’ young defense on Friday.

Miami signal-caller Ryan Tannehill has thrown for 7,207 yards his first two NFL seasons with 36 touchdowns, but his 30 career interceptions (17 last year) are the concern. As the Dolphins hope to limit miscues this season, the Falcons are looking settle position battles on defense with the players that force them this preseason. .

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