FLOWERY BRANCH, GA —Running back Jerious Norwood was a welcomed sight to the practice field Monday morning. Norwood spent much of training camp trying to work back from an injury.
The fifth-year veteran has seen his share of bad luck on the injury front, and he said getting back was just a matter of working hard and staying positive about the situation.
"It's been pretty frustrating, but me being the person I am, I always have a positive attitude about everything," he said. "Things happen for a reason, and God's got control over everything, so I rely and I put all my faith in God to heal me and bring me back stronger."
Norwood will not play against the New England Patriots in the Falcons' second preseason game Thursday night, but head coach Mike Smith said the Aug. 27 preseason game at Miami is the target for Norwood's return.
Patriots in town: The New England Patriots will be in Flowery Branch on Tuesday for two combined practices with the Falcons. The Jacksonville Jaguars held two days — four sessions — of combined practices with the Falcons last week as Atlanta prepared for Kansas City.
The combined practices are a product of forward thinking by Smith in the case that the NFL decides to go to an 18-game schedule in the future.
"It's got to be very structured, the practices," Smith said. "I think this year with us working with Jacksonville the first week and this week having the opportunity to work two times against New England, there is familiarity with the two organizations.
"I really believe that if we go to an 18-game regular season and it goes back to two preseason games that you will have teams working with one another. You've got to evaluate your young players, and really, the best way to evaluate them is against other competition."
Both sessions Tuesday with the Patriots are open to the public. Practices are slated to start at 8:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
More returns in store: Also returning to practice Monday was cornerback Brian Williams, who had been coming back from a knee injury suffered during a regular season game last year.
Wide receiver Harry Douglas has been practicing once per day for about a week now and continues to work back from his own knee injury. Douglas, however, will play Thursday night against New England. Williams will not play against the Patriots.