The Falcons, who have turned down opportunities to be on HBO’s Hard Knocks show in the past, will not have any players wearing microphones when the network films the Cincinnati Bengals over the next two days.
“We’ve talked about the sanctity of certain things that are run,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said on Sunday. “I know that we’ve had that conversation. I don’t think there will be anything out there that wouldn’t be shown any other week. …This show is about the Cincinnati Bengals and they are here this week to play and work against us.”
Some of the Falcons business and marketing executives would like to be on the show. Falcons owner Arthur Blank has talked about building a national following for the franchise and being on the show would rise the team’s profile nationally.
But some of the football operations folks did not wish to grant the access to HBO that’s required to film the award-winning documentary. The way players are cut is normally some of the most riveting scenes.
“We do so much no-huddle and things like that and they do so much broadcasting and miking people up that I don’t think that’s good for us,” wide receiver Roddy White said. “I don’t want everybody to know the plays that we are running and how things are coming a long. We can stay away from Hard Knocks.”
Smith has been on the show twice while he was an assistant with Baltimore and Jacksonville.
Gallarda released: The Falcons signed tight end Tim Biere after reaching an injury-settlement with tight end Tommy Gallarda, who suffered a shoulder injury.
Gallarda played in nine games as a reserve tight end and on special teams last season.
He was the second player released because of injury in training camp. The Falcons also released cornerback Saeed Lee, who suffered a knee injury that required surgery.
“It was very similar to the (shoulder injury) he had in November last year that caused him to go on (injured reserve),” Smith said. “It was a tough break for Tommy. He was a guy who’s worked very hard for us.”
Biere, 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, was originally signed by Kansas City as an undrafted rookie free agent from Kansas in 2012.
Light workout: The Falcons didn’t practice in pads on Sunday.
“They worked hard on Friday night,” Smith said. “There was some contact and we’ve got some guys who are not necessarily on the injury report, but they are bumped and bruised up. We wanted to let them ease back into it because tomorrow will be a padded practice that will go upwards of two hours and 20 minutes.”
Russell shining: It wasn’t an official game or even an exhibition but Donald Russell, a rookie from Georgia State, shined under the lights during the Falcons’ live scrimmage in Gainesville Friday night.
“It was a great experience,” Russell said. “I’ve enjoying it a lot. Being from Georgia State here at home, there’s not a better feeling. I’m glad the coaches gave me an opportunity and I’m trying to rise to expectations.”
Russell showed good vision and acceleration on an 11-yard reception on a screen play. On the next snap Russell had what was unofficially the longest run of the session when he reversed field and scampered for 12 yards.
“It basically was a stretch run, nothing there,” Russell said. “You are not just here just to run designed plays. If nothing is there, you have to try to make a play. That’s what I did. Everything was closed up so I tried to make another way.”
Linebackers playing well: After the scrimmage, Falcons coaches and football executives had their first chance to rate players who are vying for roster spots and increased roles in live game conditions.
“We are having open competition at a number of positions: linebacker being one of them, secondary and the offensive line,” Smith said. “Those are probably the three areas where we are not set in terms of what our roster is going to look like when we get to our 53-man roster.”
Undrafted rookie linebacker Joplo Bartu continue to impress the coaches.
Staff writer Michael Cunningham contributed to this article.