The Falcons are going back to high school. Atlanta will hold an intra-squad scrimmage on Friday night at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia at 6:45 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Head coach Mike Smith said the live, six-series game is highly anticipated by his players.
“It’s one of the most fun things for our guys, believe it or not,” Smith said. “They love to go back to the high school fields and get on the grass and play in a small arena.”
Rookie S Charles Mitchell, a sixth round pick out of Mississippi State, said to Orlando Ledbetter, “It’s the first chance to really get to make a name for yourself. I’m pretty sure the film will tell who’s physical and who’s not.”
The game will be full-speed and include live contact for everyone but the quarterbacks. “The entire sessions won’t be live, but there’ll be enough opportunities for the guys to go out and compete,” Smith said.
Matt Ryan sat out of Thursday’s practice likely in preparation for Friday Night Lights, as the team calls it. Coach Smith said that the decision to rest Ryan came because he was “on a pitch count over the first five days.”
Score will be kept on Friday night however extra points will be awarded for things like consecutive first downs on offense or three-and-outs for the defense.
Thirty and older club: “[DE] John Abraham got a little rest today. [C] Todd McClure got a little rest today. Those were two of the over thirty club who we tried to get rest,” head coach Mike Smith said. TE Tony Gonzalez, who’s 36 years old, also is expected to get a few extra days of rest throughout training camp.
Injury update: DT Vance Walker didn’t practice on Thursday with an undisclosed injury. “Vance Walker wasn’t excused. He was injured. We certainly hope that Vance will be back out for [Friday Night Lights]; I can’t guarantee it’s going to happen. He’s going to have to get cleared before he can get back on the practice field,” Smith said.
A look ahead: After Friday Night Lights, the Falcons have Saturday off before a Sunday morning walk-through followed by a practice on Sunday afternoon. On Monday, the Falcons will travel to Dalton, Georgia to practice with the Tennessee Titans.
For more Falcons coverage, follow Mike Singer @CBSSportsNFLATL.