Titans share insight to this year’s Falcons

Photo by AtlantaFalcons.com

Falcons got their first look at another football team on Monday, when they squared off against the Tennessee Titans in a combined practice at the team facility in Flowery Branch. This is also a perfect time to find out if the Falcons are indeed a physical football team now.

The day got started simply enough with the two teams letting off some steam, by getting into a shoving match during punt drills. This fracas involved Falcons cornerback Robert McClain and Titans corner Tommie Campbell, among other Falcons/Titans players. Later we saw another one that ended up sending Falcons center Joe Hawley off the field. This was his second fight in the last two days and he was ejected from Monday’s practice.

After this practice I wanted to talk with some of the Titans players to figure out if the Falcons have indeed reached status of being a physical football team. Plus, I wanted to find out if they could put it to work.

Titans safety Bernard Pollard is known for his physical play over his career and was a player that was trying to get under the skin of some of the Falcons players. He says the Falcons didn’t hold back for these workouts.

“They came after us,” Pollard said. “They got after it and we had a couple of battles. That’s what football is all about and we could see from all the things they were doing before/after (the play). It wasn’t anything cheap, but at the same time you could see that they were doing everything in their power to be that physical team that coach is looking for and the city wants. I thought we matched their intensity.”

Titans rookie offensive lineman Taylor Lewan was a potential draft pick for the Falcons this past May out of Michigan. Of course Atlanta decided to go with Jake Matthews with the sixth pick overall. That said, Lewan says the coaches delivered on what they said they wanted to be during his meetings with the team.

“Strong, physical team and I know that’s what they want to be,” Lewan said. “I know when I was meeting with their GM and head coach that’s one of the things they preached. They said if we bring you in, we’re one of those teams that has been talked about not being physical, not being tough. That’s one of the things they’ve really done, because I could really feel their toughness out there.”

The Falcons even got to show whether or not they’re a physical team against one of the better defensive backs in the game, Titans safety Michael Griffin. The two-time pro bowler pretty much echoes his fellow safety Bernard Pollard in saying the Falcons gave them a good test.

“It’s the NFL and they had the same type of season we had last year, they didn’t go to the playoffs,” Griffin said. “They came out and fought hard. They did the things they had to do and we did the things that we had to do.”

This is not the last time this season these two teams will be seeing each other. Like last season, the Falcons will be playing Tennessee in the third week of the preseason. This year’s meeting is in Atlanta. Until then, the Falcons will have their first preseason game on Friday against the Miami Dolphins inside the Georgia Dome. The following week, they’ll head to Houston for a couple of days to practice against the Texans. Then they’ll play them in their second preseason game.

At least judging from the way practice went on Monday, it seems the Falcons have become that physical team they said they would become. Another test to figure out if this is the case comes later in the week in the Dome.


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