FLOWERY BRANCH – For the next two days, the Falcons will host the Jacksonville Jaguars for four practices.
The practices should help the Falcons fine tune some things before the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Georgia Dome.
“It is good for us mentally, and it is good for the players to practice against some other guys,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I think it is good for the evaluation process. That is the biggest thing.”
Counting OTAs, the Falcons have had more than 30 practices against each other. They are ready to see some different colored uniforms.
“They are going to get an opportunity to have to defend different receivers,” Smith said. “They will have to disengage against different blockers, so I think it is really going to be good. I am looking forward to it.”
Smith and Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio talked at length Saturday morning to finalize the plans.
“I think that we are on the same page of trying to make sure that it is a normal practice,” said Smith, who is not calling the practices a scrimmage. “There is not going to be any tackling, and you aren’t really going to see anything different
in terms of the tempo. We are getting the opportunity to work against other opponents.”
All four practices are open to the public. Monday’s practice times are 8:30-10:40 a.m. and from 3:45 to 4:40 p.m.
On Tuesday, they will practice from 8:30 to 10:40 a.m. and 3:45 to 5:50 p.m.
Smith served as Del Rio’s defensive coordinator for five seasons before becoming the Falcons head coach.
Veterans Todd McClure and Brian Finneran were around the last time the Falcons had a training camp practice/scrimmage. They headed over to Nashville to scrimmage the Titans in 2004.
The intensity of practice will pick up.
“It gets pretty feisty,” Finneran said. “When you go twice a day against a team you probably don’t like very much your competitive juices start flowing.”
There was one thing McClure remembers from the Nashville scrimmages.
“Fights,” McClure said. “That’s all it was. We had to stop practice during the nine on seven drills because of fights. Tempers flare. If you can control that some kind of way, you can get some really good work.”