Falcons to be on 'Hard Knocks'

Updated: June 12, 2014, 9:25 PM ET
By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com

The Atlanta Falcons will be featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks" during training camp, the team announced Thursday.

"We are excited about the opportunity to give our fans a behind the scenes look at what it takes to prepare an NFL team for the rigors of a 16-game regular season and beyond," Falcons owner and chairman Arthur M. Blank said. "This marks the first time that our franchise will be featured on 'Hard Knocks' and we look forward to showcasing our great players and coaches to football fans all across America."

It is somewhat of a surprising move, considering coach Mike Smith typically wants to avoid added distractions. But Smith obviously saw the benefit in such a documentary.

"We are looking forward to connecting with our fans across the country as the program chronicles our 2014 training camp," Smith said. "The series will give fans a behind the scenes look at the competition between players as we build our roster and prepare for the season. We are looking forward to the start of camp in late July."

Training camp will include a number of intriguing storylines, including the return of Julio Jones from season-ending foot surgery, the beginning of Jake Matthews' NFL career as the new starting right tackle and the switch to a 3-4 base defense with the additions of nose tackle Paul Soliai and defensive end Tyson Jackson up front.

Receiver Roddy White, who cracked jokes at the defense during a recent session of organized team activities, should bring comic relief to the show. New line coaches Bryan Cox and Mike Tice, known for their fiery passion and foul language, should provide plenty of sound bites, as well.

"Hard Knocks" with the Falcons will debut on Aug. 5. The Falcons have yet to announce their full training camp schedule but travel to Houston to practice against the Texans on Aug. 13 and 14 in preparation for a preseason game at Reliant Stadium on Aug. 16.

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

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