Posted: 1:03 pm Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Hard Knocks sneak preview: The Toughness Crusade continues 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

HOUSTON — HBO has posted a preview of tonight’s episode on their Facebook page.

It show Falcons coach Mike Smith telling the team he’s tired of hearing that the Falcons aren’t tough and that they are a tough football team.

The Toughness Crusade continues. . . .

Falcons running back Antone Smith gets past Miami Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi for yardage during the first quarter of their NFL exhibition game on Friday, August 8, 2014, in Atlanta. (Photo by Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons running back Antone Smith gets past Miami Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi for yardage during the first quarter of their NFL exhibition game on Friday, August 8, 2014, in Atlanta. (Photo by Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

He lauded Joe Hawley for defending the honor of a teammate, which resulted in him getting expelled from the practice with the Tennessee Titans. He thought that was a good penalty and hey, who wants to argue with that.

Here’s how this “toughness” issue got out of control.

Former Saints Heath Evans was saying he thought the Falcons were soft for a couple of years. While they were winning, everyone ignored him and called him a “Hater!”

Then as things went sideways last season, all of the talking heads jumped. Here’s the NFL Network crew saying the Falcons lacked toughness.

Then things really took when owner Arthur Blank voiced his displeasure with no one retaliating against Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro after he put a late hit on quarterback Matt Ryan, who was sliding.

IMG_1932HBO showed the video on last week’s episode. The guilty parties were Lamar Holmes and Peter Konz, who were closest to the play.

Smith talks about the fine line between winning a losing. There is also a fine line between being a tough team and a heavily penalized one.

Also on tonight’s show:

–Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff outlines his views on the 2014 roster.

–Popular linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who has not spoken to the local media since his injury, is profiled.

–The Falcons scrimmage with the Tennessee Titans in Flowery Branch as they prepped for their opening exhibition game against the Miami Dolphins will also be shown.

STOP BACK by AJC.COM TONIGHT at 9:30 p.m. as we’ll have an open thread rolling for commenting during the show and recap video up pretty quickly.

TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE

Date                                                      Practice Times (public availability)

Wednesday, August 13           Combined Practice w/ Houston Texans (Houston, TX), 9 a.m. ET

Thursday, August 14                Combined Practice w/ Houston Texans (Houston, TX), 9 a.m. ET

Friday, August 15                     Pregame Walkthrough (No Media Availability)

Saturday, August 16                  Falcons at Houston Texans

NRG Stadium

8:00 p.m. ET – CW69

Sunday, August 17                           Players’ Day Off (No Media Availability)

Monday, August 18                         Practice 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (closed to the public)

Break Camp

11 comments
RangeRover
RangeRover

Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.

- Alex Karras

RangeRover
RangeRover

If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.  He doesn't have tenure.

- Bill Gates

RangeRover
RangeRover

It's tough to stay married.  My wife kisses the dog on the lips, yet she won't drink from my glass.

- Rodney Dangerfield

Ersatz
Ersatz

The Falcons are soft until they prove otherwise.

RBI
RBI

From what I saw of the Falcons the past few years, Heath Evans simply told it like it was.  The Falcons tried out score the opposition, and usually succeeded until last season.  That is not being a hater.  That is being honest.

ReyB
ReyB

Vaccaro is a marked man. He better watch himself. 

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

Call Heath Evans what you want, but he was publically calling out the falcan'ts as soft, two years before the world saw how soft they were with that Vaccaro hit last year, before Arthur Blank called his own team soft, and before Coach Mike Smith and staff set out to change their team to be tougher.  Hard to argue with the facts. And it wasn't just that Vaccaro hit, it was MRyan sliding at the 3 instead of aiming to get in the end zone, it was SJackson dropping a pass at the goal line, it was WMoore getting carried by Jimmy Graham five yards into the end zone.  I could on but you get the drift. BTW:  You don't coach toughness.    Hard Knocks!  LOL!  The irony!   LOL!   

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

Evans. What a chowder head Aint lover. Lets see Vaccarro do that again.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@SeenThatB4

Yep, high on Vicodin while Money Motivated to Maim opponents is real toughness!

Besides, Marshawn Lynch showed just how tough they really are!  LOL!

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

@Dasdguy 

Chowder head Heath Evans had nothing to say about SOFT Sean Payton and the Aints BountyGate cheating scandal.