The Atlanta Falcons aren’t exactly a franchise that evokes razzle and/or dazzle, but the Falcons will nonetheless be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer. Here are six storylines to keep an eye on.
1) Veteran stars try to hang on: Steven Jackson, Osi Umenyiora and Devin Hester have been to a combined seven Pro Bowls, but all are past their prime and on the wrong side of 30. Watch for the producers to spend quite some time focusing on that aging trio and their place on this team.
2) Roddy White could run his mouth: White might be the most outspoken player on the team. He routinely runs into trouble on Twitter and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. If the folks at HBO/NFL Films can get White talking, he could become this season’s star.
3) Mike Tice: Yes, Tice himself is a storyline just because he’s awesome. I want to know more about that pencil he always has tucked above his ear. Since being fired from his head-coaching gig in Minnesota in 2005, Tice has bounced from Chicago to Jacksonville to Atlanta. You get the feeling Hard Knocks will make him a star.
4) The battle to replace Sean Weatherspoon: Weatherspoon would have been a Hard Knocks star, but he’s out for the year with a ruptured Achilles. Now, a bunch of unknowns will fight for that vacant linebacker spot. Atlanta drafted four linebackers last month and also has high hopes for young Joplo Bartu.
5) Julio Jones’ health: The star receiver has been unstoppable when healthy thus far in his career, but Jones has been hampered by foot injuries and still isn’t 100 percent. His rehab should be the top medical storyline.
6) Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford: The second-year starting corners are “practically inseparable,” according to team’s website. Nothing like a bromance.