When the NFL released its schedule for the 2015 regular season last week, Falcons Roddy White wasn't glued to the television. In fact, he didn't learn of his team's entire slate of games until the next day, speaking as a guest on 680 The Fan.
Based upon the 2014 records of each NFL team, Atlanta's strength of schedule for 2015 is listed as the "easiest" of all 32 clubs, part of why White pays no attention to the buzz that typically surrounds the schedule release.
"That doesn't mean anything," White said. "Every year in this league you find a team that didn't' win five games (the year before) and the next year it wins 11; it's always like that in the NFL. There's always some Cinderella team that comes out of nowhere and wins a lot of games. None of that actually means anything to me."
Instead of watching the schedule-release shows last Tuesday night, White was resting after a busy and productive day. He spent quality time with his mother, who was in town for a visit and then worked out, including playing two hours of basketball, winning five out of six games and, yes, he was counting.
Voluntary workouts began this week and members of the media had a chance to see the Falcons back at work Thursday morning. Head coach Dan Quinn, QB Matt Ryan and CB Desmond Trufant answered questions in a press conference.
White's mentality away from the team facility is the exact same inside the Falcons' headquarters in Flowery Branch: competitive to the max. The extra competitive drive this offseason is a direct result of Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who has already enhanced the culture, throughout the entire organization.
"We're taking score at practice now," White said. "It's more competitive, more energized. Everything is football. Let's go play football. Let's figure things out on the field, and it's a 'let's-get-after-it' type of mode. It's completely different from what we're used to."
The offseason work will be put on display in Week 1 as the Falcons open the regular season on Monday Night Football, facing the Philadelphia Eagles. Entering his 11th season in the league, White welcomes the prime-time game, already equipped with his pregame ritual for such late-night matchups.
"I take a long nap and right before then, I'll go walk around the mall and stuff like that," White said. "You never want to just sit in your hotel room all day and then just go to the game and play, because you're body will just be tired, and it will take you a minute to get going."
The Falcons' season opener is the first of nine-straight games before their bye in Week 10.
"I like the later bye weeks," White said. "We can take a week off from going hard for eight or nine weeks, and hopefully our record will be exactly what we want it to be at the bye, so we can enjoy the time off."