Falcons, Pats put aside NFL’s secret society (for limited time)

Dimitroff, Smith and Belichick: One big happy family?

Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and Bill Belichick are acting as one big happy family. Is this the NFL? (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The New England Patriots invaded the Falcons’ practice facility Tuesday, and they didn’t even feel the need to hide their video cameras.

“You mean a little Spygate?” tight end Tony Gonzalez joked when asked about the Patriots’ espionage tendencies. “I don’t think we’re really showing them too much. This is about as vanilla as it gets.”

“I think we’re running plays that you install on day one,” quarterback Matt Ryan said.

“No secret squirrel tapes,” said

Tom Brady gives Matt Ryan some pointers (Falcons fans can only hope).

Falcons fans can only hope that New England quarterback Tom Brady is giving Matt Ryan some pointers. (Curtis Compton/AJC).

Gerald Riggs, the former Falcon.

With the NFL expected to chop exhibition schedules down from four games to two, teams are expected to schedule practices against each other with increasing frequency. But it all seems, to use Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s word, “surreal.”

Understand that this league houses some of the world’s most secretive, paranoid and bunker-mentality individuals. Think of Spy vs. Spy with a billion-dollar TV package.

New England tends to be ahead of the espionage curve. It’s easy to justify when you win Super Bowls. This is the only team to get stripped of a first-round draft pick, fined $250,000 and have its coach (Bill Belichick) also fined $500,000 for videotaping opposing coaches hand signals. (The team also was accused of taping an opponent’s walk-thru before a Super Bowl, though the league found nothing to support the claim.)

The Falcons allow media members – and often advertising VIPs – to stand and watch practices in a designated area between two of the practice fields. The Patriots also have a designated area back home for the Boston-area media. It’s believed to be somewhere near Delaware.

“See up there,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said, pointing up a hill, a couple of hundred yards away. “Thomas told me the Patriots have all of the cameras and media up there, behind the trees.”

It was a bit of a culture clash Tuesday, although Belichick downplayed the significance of the different surroundings and said it wouldn’t affect his practice plans.

“Just trying to get better,” he said. (I considered turning that into a Q-and-A).

Actually, this all was Belichick’s idea. He phoned Dimitroff two months ago with the thought of bringing his team here early before Thursday night’s exhibition at the Georgia Dome.

“You’ve got a chance to be up close and personal with a team which is not that easy to be up close and personal with,” said Dimitroff, and he should know. He worked for New England.

“Bill was very up front, [saying], ‘We’re coming there. Your rules. Your house,’” he said. “The media’s in the box. What do we do — serve you guys Mai Tais out there?” (Not true. Actually, that’s on Thursdays.)

The Falcons practiced against Jacksonville last week, but that wasn’t preceding a game between the teams, and, as Gonzalez said: “Nothing against Jacksonville or any other team, but when you go against New England you’re going against one of the best teams in the NFL. It’s good to see where you stack up.”

It was a little eye-opening, particularly for those of us who generally aren’t allowed to watch the other team practice.

I’ll break protocol here: No. 12 likes to throw to No. 81. That’s sure to get me banned from future New England practices.

Actually, Randy Moss (81) burned the Falcons’ secondary a couple of times, and made certain they knew it.

“What’s up? That’s two today,” Moss said as he jogged back behind Falcons’ defenders on the sideline after catching a deep pass.

There were no fights and no real heated moments (unfortunately for spectators).

Tom Brady didn’t bring Gisele Bundchen and Kroy Biermann didn’t bring Kim Zolciak. (Imagine the look on Belichick’s face with that potential TMZ moment.)

The Patriots were mildly amused when Falcons coach Mike Smith announced, “Everybody to the cool zone” (the players’ tented rest area).

“We’ll go over to the hot zone,” a New England aide said.

“They’ve got a cool zone, water breaks — we don’t have any of that,” Brady said.

Things will be back to normal Thursday night. Secrecy and normalcy return. Search the Pats at the door.

Instant re-blogs (add fries for a meal)

Countdown: Bikini-ball, Petrino’s death touch and ‘Real Housewife of Flowery Branch’

Hey, here’s an idea: Manny to Braves (kidding, sort of)

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

52 comments Add your comment

Not first

August 17th, 2010
3:45 pm

74 Dawg

August 17th, 2010
3:46 pm

How long are they leaving the starters in Thursday, Jeff?

JB

August 17th, 2010
3:46 pm

We lose by 3 TD’s Thursday……We’re not there yet.

Rimfire

August 17th, 2010
3:51 pm

Search the Pats at the door…
That’s the best line you’ve had this week, Jeff.

Justin Bieber

August 17th, 2010
3:57 pm

Hey Brady, why are you trying to be me?

Wildebeast

August 17th, 2010
3:59 pm

Relegated to the Hot Zone….those poor Patriots players could die of heat prostitution!

Ted Striker

August 17th, 2010
4:00 pm

Brady is sporting a Matt Stafford hairdo.

Joey

August 17th, 2010
4:03 pm

Yeah, maybe Ryan rubbed up against Brady and got some of that superstar DNA on him. You gotta admit that until the blown-out-knee, Brady was the best “big game” QB in the business.

lanier

August 17th, 2010
4:04 pm

Brady is pointing out the Real Housewife Of Atlanta

Warhorse

August 17th, 2010
4:06 pm

Except Brady does not look like a clown with his hairdo.

Joey

August 17th, 2010
4:07 pm

Gisele didn’t show? I bet the Count didn’t bother going . . .

Joey

August 17th, 2010
4:09 pm

……..and Brady doesn’t have Stafford’s receeding hairline. Yeah, I notice those things . . .

Walker, Texas Ranger

August 17th, 2010
4:19 pm

“Hey Matt, you see the blonde with the huge rack” Brady pointing to crowd. “Kim Zolack” replies Matt. “No, the one in the safari hat” responds Brady

BT

August 17th, 2010
4:29 pm

Today was a relative cool day in Flowery Branch.
If you spend any time there watching the two a days, you would understand why that cool zone is needed.

[...] Read the original: Falcons, Pats put aside NFL's secret society (for limited time … [...]

Agent Sunscreen

August 17th, 2010
4:33 pm

Hilarious column Schultz.

ScottBravesfan

August 17th, 2010
4:36 pm

Hey Tom Brady, I know you aren’t paid for your smarts, but there is a reason that there is a cool zone and water breaks in Georgia, because you will die if you don’t get them. The heat and humidity is just a little bit different here than it is in New England.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Troy Heinzman, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Falcons, Pats put aside NFL’s secret society (for limited time) http://bit.ly/dp9DVx [...]

Grady Jackson *Barber Shop*

August 17th, 2010
5:03 pm

.
Wake me up when the boring pre-season is over.

mountain_jim

August 17th, 2010
5:26 pm

Boring pre-season still beats the hell out of the agonizingly long offseason.

F-105 Thunderchief

August 17th, 2010
5:28 pm

Brady is saying, “Hey, Matt is that Kim Zolciak? Wow, I’d like to … get her autograph.”

JTH

August 17th, 2010
5:29 pm

Preseason sux. Cool article about a unusual practice though.

F-105 Thunderchief

August 17th, 2010
5:30 pm

By the way, is Brady trying to become the new Fabio with that hair?

Asheville Dawg

August 17th, 2010
5:51 pm

Hopefully the Falcons can imitate the Pats from seasons past.

ERIC MANGINI

August 17th, 2010
6:29 pm

.
Be careful, Belichick is up to something.
.

laguna Darren

August 17th, 2010
6:31 pm

Maybe The Patriots can find another way to cheat and become an actual Super Bowl contender. They have been slightly above average since Brady doesn’t know the defense through his earpiece before he walks to the line.People you really have no ideal of how many different meathods The Patriots were cheating.Any top 10 team with their advantages would have been doninate.

Barkin'Dog

August 17th, 2010
6:42 pm

How cool is it to have world champions in your house?
People, you’ve got to like the direction this team is headed. With connections like the Patriots in town, you can’t help but get better by association. Thursdays game will be interesting, no matter the result… although I predict a win in the end. Brother Bill doesn’t give a rats patootie about the outcome… but Mr. Smith does. The other prediction is a barn-burner of a game (one of the better exhibitions). I just hope for a healthy ending – no IR time afterward. Go Falcons!!

[...] ♦ Falcons and Patriots put aside NFL’s secret society (for a limited time) [...]

Dog Catcher

August 17th, 2010
6:50 pm

The Saints are the World Champions, Barkin Dawg.

New England is like 4 or 5 years ago !

Dog Catcher

August 17th, 2010
6:57 pm

2004 Season to be exact.

Hot4Kim

August 17th, 2010
7:29 pm

Damn I was hoping today they would at the least get a pic of Kim I wanna see her.

Jeff Schultz

August 17th, 2010
7:47 pm

74 Dawg — I’d think at least a few series. But wasn’t there for much of Smitty’s talk today.

Jeff Schultz

August 17th, 2010
7:48 pm

Rimfire — Thanks. (Or should that be ‘Rimshot’?)

Jeff Schultz

August 17th, 2010
7:48 pm

Justin Justin Justin . . .

Jeff Schultz

August 17th, 2010
7:49 pm

Thanks, Agent Sunscreen. (Do you wear a cape?)

Jeff Schultz

August 17th, 2010
7:49 pm

F-105 Thunderchief — Somehow, I think Brady could get more than the autograph if he wanted to. But he’s doing just fine with Gisele.

Jeff Schultz

August 17th, 2010
8:05 pm

JTH — Thanks.

Bob Horners ear wax

August 17th, 2010
8:47 pm

crap, im drunk again.

[...] ♦ Falcons and Patriots put aside NFL’s secret society (for a limited time) [...]

Sports Review

August 18th, 2010
2:10 am

[...] statusProvidence JournalTraining Camp Central: Belichick from AtlantaNECNWBZ -ESPN -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 135 news [...]

BKJ

August 18th, 2010
7:36 am

Now that’s funny — “Just trying to get better,” he said. (I considered turning that into a Q-and-A).

[...] Schultz (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Falcons, Pats put aside NFL’s secret society (for limited time). Yeesh, this guy made sure to use every spy-gate and camera reference he could [...]

jgentry

August 18th, 2010
8:51 am

I love how the NE aides and players reacted like CMS was being soft by allowing the players to go to the cool zone. Playing constantly in GA heat and humidity requires precautions. You’re not tougher, you just practice in cooler weather.

TomQ

August 18th, 2010
9:19 am

Maybe someone already said this, but the Pat’s live and play in a cool zone!

Dr. Warren

August 18th, 2010
9:43 am

Brady actually looks like a Brady Bunch Brady with that haircut.

Falcon57

August 18th, 2010
11:07 am

Oh NO!!!! Secondary getting burned already even when they KNEW it was coming. Tell me it ain’t so!!!!

[...] ♦ Falcons and Patriots put aside NFL’s secret society (for a limited time) [...]

Sports Review

August 18th, 2010
3:20 pm

[...] news' on contract statusProvidence JournalGONZALEZ PRAISES THE PATSWBZESPN -WEEI.com -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 134 news [...]

[...] middle. And it signal goes to the soft …Breer's training camp tour: FalconsBoston GlobeFalcons, Pats put aside NFL's secret society (for limited time)Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Past and present: Falcons GM Dimitroff enjoys 'surreal' [...]

Philip Tortora

August 18th, 2010
9:16 pm

As we head toward the start of the 2010 NFL regular season, I figured I’d offer up 10 changes I’d like to see the league make. Many of them are things we all grumble about while watching the games with our buddies, but they don’t necessarily get talked or written about much.

http://philiptortora.blogspot.com/2010/08/ten-changes-that-can-improve-nfl.html