The Falcons and Redskins will kick off the 2016 preseason schedule Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET. Here's what you need to know before opening kickoff:
Washington leads the regular season series against Atlanta with a 14-9-1 record versus the Falcons. The Redskins lead the preseason series, as well, winning 10 of 15 exhibition contests played between the two clubs. Washington won the last preseason meeting, 27-0; the Falcons beat the Redskins during the last regular season matchup, winning 25-19 in overtime on Oct. 11, 2015. Overall, Atlanta is 9-15-1 all-time against Washington.
The only ex-Falcon currently on Washington's roster is defensive back DeAngelo Hall. Drafted in the first round by Atlanta in 2004, the Virginia Tech product is slated to begin his first season as a full-time safety. He spent most of the last 12 years at cornerback.
The Falcons have plenty of ties to the Redskins organization. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (2010-13), wide receivers coach Raheem Morris (2012-14), Running backs coach Bobby Turner (2010-2014), offensive line coach Chris Morgan (2011-13), quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur (2010-13) and offensive assistant Mike McDaniel (2011-13) all coached in Washington. Guard Chris Chester (2011-14), tackle Tom Compton (2012-15), wide receiver Aldrick Robinson (2011-14) and wide receiver Nick Williams (2013-14) spent time playing for Washington.
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and Redskins defensive coordinator Ben Kotwica coached for the Jets during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Additionally, Washington head coach Jay Gruden served as Cincinnati's offensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013, which were Mohamed Sanu's first two years in the NFL.
Atlanta's Matt Schaub, who is in line to take snaps at quarterback for a portion of Thursday's game, has fared well against Washington over the years. In four regular season contests versus the Redskins, he has completed 38 of 52 passes (73.08 percent) for three touchdowns and one interception — good for a 114.0 passer rating.
Although Julio Jones and Josh Norman won't see much of the field, all eyes will be on them early on. Last season, Matt Ryan targeted Julio Jones 12 times when matched up against Norman, catching nine passes for 113 yards.
During Atlanta's last bout with Washington, tight end Jacob Tamme had one of his best days as a pro, catching eight passes for 94 receiving yards. Robert Alford shined too, racking up a pair of interceptions. He ran his second pick of the afternoon into the end zone to seal an OT victory for the Falcons.
Now that Alfred Morris is with the Cowboys, Matt Jones, who has only 144 regular season carries, has a chance to become Washington's No. 1 running back in 2016. Last October, he gained 20 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushes versus Atlanta.