With players reporting to Russell Athletic Training Camp on Wednesday, the start of the 2013 football season is ready to get underway. If you're planning on making your way to the team's facilities in Flowery Branch to watch the team practice, you can be sure to catch some great action on and off the field.
Thursday marks the start of practices, and sessions will run until Sunday, August 11 and will be open to the public. Opening weekend is ideal for kids, as Saturday and Sunday are Youth Weekend. Activities planned for children include an autograph zone hosted by Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, a "Look Like a Pro" zone where children can wear authentic equipment worn by Falcons players and sign up for several contests that include autographed helmets and jerseys as prizes.
As for what to watch for on the field throughout the duration of camp, several position battles will be taking place as players fight for the final spots on the roster, particularly at backup safety, cornerback and right tackle.
Some players to watch for both on and off the field include Tony Gonzalez, who will play his final season, Steven Jackson and Osi Umenyiora, who join the team as proven veterans and are looking to make an impact on their respective sides of the ball and Brian Banks, who brings an emotional backstory into his first ever NFL training camp.
Pay close attention to players such as defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi, defensive tackle Corey Peters and center Peter Konz, as they could make a big impact on the team.
Other dates to mark on your calendar include Friday, Aug. 2, which marks Kia Motors Friday Night Lights at Bobby Gruhn Field at City Park Stadium, and Thursday, Aug. 8, which marks the team's first preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Georgia Dome at 8 p.m.
Here are some helpful links if you're coming to camp, or if you want to follow all the action: