After a weekend full of tough decisions to ultimately trim down the roster to 53 players, the Falcons were back on the field on Monday preparing for the first of the regular season. Although head coach Mike Smith acknowledged that they had to let some good guys go, he said that the rookies really stepped up during the preseason and earned their spot. For these rookies, the weekend marked a time of celebration with their friends and family, but they knew come Monday that it was back to business to prepare for New Orleans.
Smith also confirmed that some key players who had to miss part of the preseason were still on track to fully participate in Sunday's opener.
After going 0-4 in the preseason, the Falcons are looking to start the regular season off right when they face the Saints on Sunday. Everything from this week on counts, so to get prepared alongside the team read Five Things to Watch for in Week 1.
For photos from Monday's practice, click here.
The Falcons released their first regular season depth chart on Tuesday, with some notable changes including wide receiver Harry Douglas being listed as the punt returner and Lamar Holmes being the starting right tackle with rookie Ryan Schraeder backing him up. Veteran Jeremy Trueblood, who the team acquired that same day, is also listed as third string at both left and right tackle.
With the Falcons having an off day on Tuesday, several players went out in the community for different events. This included defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi visiting his former middle school to give an inspirational speech to students.
Also, to see where the Falcons sit on various different Power Rankings around the web, you can click here.
Smith spoke about the status of injured players on Wednesday, saying that Matt Bryant was in full participation while Roddy White, Asante Samuel and Stephen Nicholas had limited participation. You can view the official Falcons injury report here.
Although excitement is buzzing because of the rivalry match up against the Saints, wide receiver Julio Jones said he's not worried about who their opponent is and is instead focused on playing Falcons football.
Running back Steven Jackson is getting his first taste of the Falcons-Saints rivalry on Sunday, something he's excited about. The running back also said he's looking forward to the offense showing off all of their weapons.
For Five Things We Learned on Wednesday, click here. If you missed that day's photo gallery of practice, you can view it here.
To view interesting facts about the history of the Falcons' rivalry with the Saints, also check out this week's Wing Tips.
Rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant is excited about getting the season started, but knows that it will be a heated battle. Still, he feels confident and ready to face anything that comes his way.
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon knows that the Saints will be aggressive on Sunday, but believes that if the Falcons stick with their game plan they will be successful.
Center Peter Konz said he's proud of tackle Lamar Holmes' improvement, adding that he's seen the most improvement from him than any other guy on the o-line.
There's a lot of history between the Falcons and the Saints, and to view it all in pictures check out our Throwback Thursday photo gallery. You can also read more about the two teams' past, which includes the figure that the Falcons have come out on top all six times that the two teams have faced off in the season opener.
Both teams have taken this week to fully prepare to face each other, and hearing what the opponent has to say definitely helps. Saints head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees spoke to the Atlanta media this week, and you can read what they had to say about the matchup here.
Also, you can read Five Things We Learned here and catch Thursday's photo gallery here. You also don't want to miss this week's FalconCast featuring AtlantaFalcons.com's Jay Adams and Daniel Cox, which transitioned to video this week.
In this week's edition of UPS Logistics of the Game, Smith gives you his three keys to Sunday's season opener.
D-Block returned for it's third season on Friday, and you don't want to miss it. Sean Weatherspoon hosts, the backers introduce Osi Umenyiora and William Moore puts on a concert at the end.
For more fun content, check out Five Things Matt Bosher thinks you should know about his teammates and Behind the Facemask, which features rookie Paul Worrilow. You can also read Friday Falcons Mailbag, which features questions including the defensive linemen and the rookie corners.
The end of the week means the Falcons are putting their finishing touches on their preparations for the season opener that's quickly approaching. For the matchup against the Saints, the mission is clear: Stop Drew Brees. You'll want to keep an eye out for these Eight Players and on Tony Gonzalez, who will start his last first game and is planning to soak the entire experience in.
The Falcons face the Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans for the season opener on Sunday, with kick off set for 1 p.m.