Posted: 8:01 am Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Falcons make Hard Knocks debut tonight at 10 p.m. 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons, who are having their most spirited and colorful camp in years, are set to debut on HBO’s Hard Knocks at 10 p.m. tonight.

Rob Gehring, who has worked the last 20 years for NFL and is the supervising producer and director of HBO’s Hard Knocks reality show, and his crew have been hard at work.

HERE’S SNEAK PEEK: The Day one fight between rookie Jake Matthews and Kroy Biermann is featured. The Rook threw the first punch.  

HBO has robotic cameras all around the facilities and a 30-member crew to document Hard Knocks, the 11-time Emmy winning sports documentary show.

Falcons Hard knocksBefore shooting they did some background work on Falcons running back Steven Jackson and rookie linebacker Tyler Starr, a seventh-round pick and longshot to make the team. Jackson suffered a hamstring injury early in camp, so it will be interesting to see if they still followed him.

Once players are injured, the Falcons, as a bizarre policy, bar injured players from talking to the local media who regularly cover the team.

Also, Falcons owner Arthur Blank has been at camp for the last eight days, a franchise-record. In the past, he usually just drops by for a few days, he said on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio last night.

We’re pretty sure that he’ll be on the show.

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Falcons coach Mike Smith after a recent practice.

HBO is hopeful the Falcons will draw in viewers.

“In the beginning when Steve (Sabol) wanted to do this show, he wanted to show how hard it was to make an NFL roster,” Gehring said. “He always loved the content of these guys at the back end of the roster, the 53rd man. Sometimes it’s a seven-round pick. Sometimes it’s an undrafted guy. He always really liked that.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith had a chance to review the episode this morning. He doesn’t have any control over the content, but has some say over the anything that falls under “competitive balance” like signals or audible calls.

With all of the fights – I loved them – it has been a Hard Knocks camp so far. If the Falcons don’t rebound this season, at least they are going to put up a fight.

“I think that physicality is an emphasis point that we’ve been talking about not only at the beginning of training camp but also at the end of the season,” Smith said. “The first thing we evaluated was that we needed to be a more physical football team, and you can’t just say you’re going to be a more physical football team you’ve got to go out and do it and prove it every day.”

Smith believes he and the coaching staff are managing the tough camp well.

“There’s a fine line between overwork and underwork,” Smith said. “You want them to be just right and as healthy as possible. But at the same time when your main goal is to be more of a physical football team you’re on a fine line every day. You’ll hold your breath as a coach.”

We’ll be back here around 9:30 p.m. with a Hard Knocks open thread if you’re interesting in blogging and tweeting (@DorlandoAJC) with us as the show is televised.

16 comments
RangeRover
RangeRover

Mr. Ledbetter,

Please stick to your plan by banning or removing the post by SeenThatB4 or others like him.  

He never offers anything of substance and his sole purpose on here is to agitate and troll.  Go back and look at any of his posts on any Falcon related blogs and the evidence is abundant, overwhelming and indisputable.

I have zero problem with competitive viewpoints and intelligent, mature debates about our teams.  But he has NEVER once done this.  It is a constant, juvenile, mosquito-like "falcan'ts" for the single purpose of being an adult spoiled brat.  

He brings zero value to your blog, and quite frankly, I for one am starting to tire of seeing it and it being allowed.  I enjoy your work, but I'll seek alternatives if this is further ignored.  Just ask him to stop it or ban him...99% one of your fans and readers will be grateful.

Thanks,

RR

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

@Ledbetter: A bit of irony here, don't you think?: The falcan'ts volunteered to be the main attraction of this year's Hard Knocks, a nationally broadcast cable show, which, like it or not, will expose the falcan'ts to criticism from across the country, and not just from their division rivals. But not here, criticism here will be censored in absolute totalitarian fashion. Just a social commentary on the state of freedom of speech in America, which should be of interest to a journalist. Should be. I wonder how much censoring will be going on on Hard Knocks.

tagg1364
tagg1364

the Saints will furnish all the 'HARD KNOCKS" the dirty pigeons will need. 

'The Saints are coming"  WHO DAT!

Dman
Dman

Can't wait, might tailgate tonight to get ready for the show and pregame a little.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

I cant wait 2 see the embrassment of the Flacons 2 nite.

DOrlandoLedbetter
DOrlandoLedbetter moderator

I'll delete them tonight. We'll stay ON TOPIC -- FALCONS AND THE SHOW!!!

RangeRover
RangeRover

Thanks, DOL, now please clean up your blog when the trolls start...they're the usual bunch!

SEB76
SEB76

@RangeRover Why delete the comments. If the Falcons have a good season, other fans will have to eat there words. Its the Falcons job to shut everyone up not yours. Come Sept the Falcons will have a chance to prove to everyone they are a very good team  or the same team that folds under pressure. I have to say any Falcon fans giving them any excuses for last season your not a real fan. You just hate that you pick a losing team. There were other teams who had lots injuries (PACKERS) more than the falcons and they still played hard and won games and made the playoffs. Falcons need to learn to play with heart. That's what they been missing not talent. So all you Falcon lovers, stop crying and own up to last season and get ready for the new one because last year don't mean sh_t  anymore! WHO DAT!

RangeRover
RangeRover

@SeenThatB4

Not once--EVER--have you offered anything of value or substance.  You're nothing but a annoying troll who lives to just say something sarcastic and negative about the Falcons.  Disagree?  Cut and paste any one of your thousands of comments of Falcon related blogs.  Just one...dare you!

You see I can feel comfortable saying something like Sean Peyton is probably the second best HC in the NFL and you have one of the greatest in Brees.   Not you; you're noting but a punk!

SEB76
SEB76

@DOrlandoLedbetter Why delete the comments. If the Falcons have a good season, other fans will have to eat there words. Its the Falcons job to shut everyone up not yours. Come Sept the Falcons will have a chance to prove to everyone they are a very good team  or the same team that folds under pressure. I have to say any Falcon fans giving them any excuses for last season your not a real fan. You just hate that you pick a losing team. There were other teams who had lots injuries (PACKERS) more than the falcons and they still played hard and won games and made the playoffs. Falcons need to learn to play with heart. That's what they been missing not talent. So all you Falcon lovers, stop crying and own up to last season and get ready for the new one because last year don't mean sh_t  anymore! WHO DAT!

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

Hmmm, unfortunately I don't feel comfortable in saying that Mike Smith is a great coach, he's a lot like Jim Mora Sr., can't get it done all the way. Same for Ryan, he's like a Marino at best, good, but not elite. I used to say good things about Tony Gonzalez, till he thought enough of himself to skip camp"... LOL! Gotta get ready to watch the show, 45 minutes till The Hard Knocks Comedy show starts.