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D. Orlando LedbetterD. Orlando Ledbetter

Hard Knocks sneak preview: The Toughness Crusade continues

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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

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