Before the 2014 regular season even began, the Atlanta Falcons offense made it very clear that it prefers to play up-tempo. Thursday, the team's practice continued in such a way, only at a different time.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith pulled an audible in Week 10, scheduling the practice to have an earlier start — at 11:15 a.m. Smith said the decision is normal for this time of year, helping to avoid monotony, while increasing player focus.
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, the team's leader with 53 receptions and 734 receiving yards, likes the earlier practice schedule and its continual up-tempo style, keeping the team in shape for the fourth-quarter finishes that it is hoping to master in Weeks 10-17.
"It's better for us," Jones said. "It's (about) game-time situations. You can't really think in the game. You've just got to get up and go. That's what we're doing now at practice. It's more get up and go, making sure everybody's in shape to finish games."