Competition has been heavy at Atlanta Falcons training camp and on Saturday, July 30, fans caught a glimpse of just exactly how competitive it has been after two fights broke out.
According to multiple reports, the first fight involved defensive tackle Jalen Dalton, who threw a jab at offensive tackle Germain Ifedi. Dalton was asked to leave practice early, per ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.
As for the second brawl, 360-pound nickel tackle Anthony Rush took down center Jonotthan Harrison from behind, which resulted in Arthur Smith cutting practice a bit short.
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Arthur Smith Downplays Scuffle, Applaudes Competitiveness
While Rothstein reported that head coach Arthur Smith was not pleased with the fights that went down, Smith ultimately seemed to be more pleased about them than upset post-practice.
“Nobody did anything really that dumb,” Smith said during his press conference. “I would much rather have guys you have to pull back than you have to push. They’re competitive as hell. We are having so much fun working with these guys it’s unbelievable.”
Rush even joked about the incident.
“It was all about lunch. They took all the forks and stuff, so I had to eat with my hands. I didn’t like that too much,” Rush said, via Josh Kendall of The Athletic. “I had to get the last piece of grilled chicken, so I wasn’t too happy about that.”
Smith Not Buying Into Low Expectations
It’s no surprise that after losing a pair of starting receivers, their longtime starting quarterback Matt Ryan, along with several other key pieces in their lineup, numerous outlets around the league don’t fancy the Falcons to have a successful season.
But it’s easy to assume a doom gloom is on the horizon for Atlanta since the Falcons currently have endless holes to fill now.
However, Smith is blocking out the nay-sayers.
“I don’t give a crap what people predict out there,” Smith said on July 29 during an appearance on 92.9 The Game. “I told the team the other day, how many people in this room have an iPhone? Damn near everybody raised their hand other than [senior assistant] Steve Hoffman because he’s the only guy who doesn’t.
“I said let me give you a little bit of a history lesson. There were some of the smartest people in the tech industry who said the iPhone is never going to work, Apple can’t produce this phone or whatever. I said it’s nonsense, if you’re buying this stuff, shame on you. I said there’s a graveyard of hot takes and these predictions that are just comical. So we’ve got to go out there every year in the NFL and earn it, and this team is going to compete. It should be fun to watch.”
Smith makes a solid point. And now that the Falcons have done a complete roster overhaul, who is to really say that they’re actually going to suck this season?
Not to mention that the Houston Texans still exist…