Falcons focus on themselves, not opponents, in preseason opener

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Mike Smith isn’t thinking about the opponent as his Atlanta Falcons enter their preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith.

There has been no game-planning in practice this week for tonight’s matchup against the Ravens. Instead, the coach said he wants to use his first look at his players in a game to help him build his depth chart.

The Falcons have been through offseason workouts, minicamp and two weeks of training camp. Now it’s time to get serious.

“All of this stuff is good in terms of practice,” Smith said Tuesday. “We’re going to get to see how these guys perform under the lights.”

Smith compared his current challenge of choosing starters and backups to his first season as Falcons coach in 2008. He said that’s why he didn’t prepare a game plan for the Ravens.

“Philosophically, we just felt like we need to evaluate guys in this first preseason game,” Smith said. “Go back to the first year we were here, we were working to try and figure out who was going to be on our 53-man roster.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan and other starters may play only one quarter.

BROWNS: Trent Richardson’s left knee might be more seriously injured than thought.

The team issued a statement Wednesday saying that the running back will see a specialist on Thursday. The statement says: “Trent Richardson is traveling to Pensacola, Fla., where he will have his left knee further evaluated by Dr. James Andrews tomorrow.”

GIANTS: Speaking to the media for the first time since “aggravating” his surgically repaired right anterior cruciate ligament, cornerback Terrell Thomas said Tuesday he might need anywhere from three to eight weeks before he is ready to get back on the field.

SEAHAWKS: Terrell Owens has completed his first practice back in the NFL as a member of his new team. Owens said he’s changed in the past two years since his last NFL stop with Cincinnati in 2010. Owens spent the 2011 season out of the NFL.

EAGLES: Andy Reid returned to practice a day after his 29-year-old son’s funeral, saying it’s “the right thing to do.”

Garrett Reid, the oldest of five children for Andy and Tammy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his dorm room at Lehigh University where he was assisting the team during training camp.

“You feel the strength of the team,” Reid said.


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