Here are today's top things to keep an eye on:
- The Falcons will be switching things up a bit today. The team is in Jacksonville a little early prior to the two teams facing off Friday night in the second preseason game of the year for a combined practice session tonight. The session will begin around 6:45 p.m. and wrap up around 9:10 p.m. The two teams will practice against each other during 9-on-7 and 1-on-1 drills and team periods. The practice is closed to the public.
- Combined sessions aren't too uncommon in the NFL. The Falcons held two separate combined practice dates last season in Flowery Branch, with the Jaguars and Patriots. A few years ago, the team traveled to Tennessee for combined practices with the Titans. Practicing against other teams has huge advantages for offenses and defenses to get brand new looks from what they're used to.
- Even though tonight's practice session won't be full contact, the Falcons' defensive front can get some good work in against the Jaguars' offensive line and running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The short and shifty running back can easily glide through holes and isn't afraid to put his head down and go right at defenders.
- The nickelback position battle will likely get a good look tonight, as well. With Chris Owens, Dominique Franks and Rafael Bush all involved in vying for the spot, the three will have their hands full during a practice session where they won't be used to a particular receiver's tendencies, as players can sometimes do when practicing against each other every day of camp.
- The intensity of tonight's practice is going to be kept at a pace consistent with what the Falcons have kept throughout camp, according to head coach Mike Smith, but still, seeing another colored jersey can sometimes tilt the intensity over the edge. Both teams will be doing their best to take care of each other tonight, while still having a hard-nosed, productive practice.