FLOWERY BRANCH — In 2004, the last time the Titans and Falcons met for a little training-camp fun, things became heated.
With the Falcons trying to push the tempo under first-year coach Jim Mora, the Titans didn’t back down.
There were a flurry of fights that ended with Falcons quarterback Michael Vick suffering a strained right hamstring. Falcons offensive lineman Martin Bibla mixed it up with reserve Titans defensive lineman James Atkins in the main event.
But when the Falcons and the Titans meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Coahulla Creek High School in Dalton, the teams will take part in a kinder and gentler practice.
“It’s going to be a nice controlled scrimmage,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “It will be nothing like where we are going to go out there and tear each other’s heads off. We are just going to go out there and try to get better.”
The Falcons practiced against the Jaguars in Jacksonville last season. In 2010, they practiced against the Jaguars and the New England Patriots in Flowery Branch.
They had plans to practice with the Titans last season, but they were scratched as the lockout dragged on. Coach Mike Smith hopes that the Falcons can continue their relationship with the Titans.
“It should be good to go against some fresh meat and see how we stack up,” Gonzalez said.
In addition to the brutal 2004 scrimmage, the Falcons also scrimmaged the Titans in Chattanooga in 1997.
This is the second practice outside of Flowery Branch leading to the exhibition opener against the Baltimore Ravens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Georgia Dome.
“We are looking at these three events, Friday Night Lights, working against the Titans and the preseason game as one set of practices,” Smith said. “Certain guys are going to work more against the Titans than they are in the preseason game on Thursday night.”
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–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog