David Goldman/Associated Press
Report date: July 24
Location: Atlanta Falcons Training Facility (Flowery Branch, Georgia)
Joint practices: Tennessee Titans (at Falcons) on Aug. 4, Houston Texans (at Texans) on Aug. 13
The Atlanta Falcons suffered through a miserable 2013 season, finishing the year with a bitterly disappointing 4-12 record.
After an offseason of retooling, the club seeks to return to the postseason behind revamped lines on both sides of the ball and the right arm of quarterback Matt Ryan.
The Falcons are this year's participants on HBO's Hard Knocks, and the first episode will air Tuesday, Aug. 5.
How will the team handle the omnipresent cameras and added pressure brought on by the Hard Knocks crew? Will it throw off the routine laid out by coach Mike Smith? The Falcons head man doesn't think so, comparing HBO's cameras to the same atmosphere of an NFL crew on game day, via D. Orlando Ledbetter:
They capture everything that is happening on a sideline, and they are just there for a two-hour period. It’s no different. They are just going to be around when we are on the practice field, when we are in meetings, so it really doesn’t change. That’s what we do when we are playing on game day.
Will the Falcons players see it the same way?
Player to Watch
Star receiver Julio Jones played in only five games last season before suffering a right foot fracture, and the team's offense went into the gutter without him. He's expected to participate fully in camp, and his return to form is much needed for Ryan and the rest of the team.
Marquee Position Battle
When linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, it created a hole in the middle of the team's defense. The fight to replace him in the starting lineup will be fierce.