For a team coming off a massively disappointing 4-12 campaign in 2013, the opening of training camp for the Atlanta Falcons has featured some feisty moments. In the season premiere of HBO’s Hard Knocks reality show, the Falcons scrapped frequently over the first few days of training camp.
After one of many tussles broke out, offensive line coach Mike Tice exclaimed “we’re not going to get any better doing that s–t.”
Rookie linebacker Jacques Smith ruffled the feathers of veteran linemen Joe Hawley and Ryan Schraeder. Hawley took offense to the way the rookie was speaking to him after a play. Schraeder followed it up by getting in Smith’s face and shoved him multiple times. Schraeder then started throwing punches after the rookie wouldn’t back down.
“I’m not backing down from nobody. …I guess they think me being a rookie this is new? None of this is new,” Smith said.
Defensive end Kroy Biermann jumped offsides three times and was angry at himself for the infractions as it meant 30 up-downs after practice. Biermann then got into a shoving match soon after with rookie tackle Jake Matthews all on the first day of camp. He also got chewed out by a coach, who shouted “”71 your ass is getting kicked all f–king camp.”
Much like they did with linebacker Aaron Maybin a season ago with the Cincinnati Bengals, the show introduced the artistic talents of running back Steven Jackson. Jackson showed off show of his pieces in a gallery with Terrell Owens among the players, current and former, making an appearance at the show.
Some more highlights from the first episode of this year’s series…
– Jackson left practice with a left hamstring injury that will leave him sidelined for a couple weeks. Head coach Mike Smith tried to look on the bright side stressing that will give the team a better look at rookie running back Devonta Freeman.
– Rookie defensive tackle Donte Rumph picked up the nickname “cupcake” from his teammates. However, after a pair of strong practices, Rumph was able to shed the nickname.
– Defensive tackle Peria Jerry elected to retire and word of the news began to filter throughout the team’s facility. “He retired? Today? Are you serious? Can I Google it? Are you for real or are you playing?” Jackson said when being told of Jerry’s decision by a teammate.
The meeting between coach Smith and Jerry letting him know of his decision was shown with Smith trying to make sure Jerry was completely committed to his decision to walk away from the game. “He said he felt that his body was not reacting like he wanted it to,” Smith relayed to owner Arthur Blank.
– Rookie safety Dezmen Southward did an entertaining impersonation of special teams coach Keith Armstrong.
“How many receivers we got?” Southward yelled. “Juilo (Jones) and Roddy (White),” was the response. “How many balls we got?” “One.” “Well one of y’all better get your ass on special teams.”
The episode wrapped with a scrimmage held at nearby Archer High School with White getting incredulous over a dropped touchdown catch from rookie receiver Geraldo Boldewijn.