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NFL training camp 2015: A useful FAQ and schedule for the Falcons

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Everything you've ever wanted to know about training camp.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

By now you're likely familiar with the basic outline of training camp, and how critical it can be for players trying to win starting jobs and roster spots. You may not know exactly how training camp works, however, and so we've prepared a quick and easy guide to what the Falcons can and cannot do this July and August.

All of this comes to us via the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement with players, so it's about as official as we're going to get.

What is training camp?

Simply put, it's designed to be an NFL team's big ramp-up for preseason, which is of course the lead-in to the regular season. Teams practice, do film study, play the ukelele, etc.

What are the limits on practice?

The first day of training camp can't be an actual practice. Instead, players will come in to be looked at by the training staff, engage in team meetings and maybe study up on the new scheme. It's a "welcome back to school" kind of day.

Otherwise, the limits are pretty consistent. You can't be on the field for more than four hours per day split between two practices, you can't have more than one padded practice per day, and the second practice needs to be minus pads and at a "walk-through" pace, meaning everyone's taking things a little more leisurely. A three hour break is required after each practice, as well.

Each padded practice can only last up to three hours, too, so you can't do a 3 hour and 45 minute padded practice and then 15 minutes on the second one.

Are there exceptions for padded practices?

Yup! If you're a quarterback, punter, kicker or long snapper, you can wear a helmet and shoulder pads just so you can lord it over the other players. If you've got a head injury, the team's smartly going to have you wear a helmet without violating any rules. If you're a player who normally communicates with the coaching staff via a headset, you will probably be wearing a helmet and Roger Goodell won't ride his four-legged warhorse down to Flowery Branch to punt you in the teeth for it.

I want to watch training camp. Do they film it?

Unsurprisingly, yes, but you're never going to get your hands on the footage. Every NFL is required to film practices and probably use that film to study up on players, but they're also required to hold on to it in case the NFLPA files a grievance. It's a way for the NFLPA to police teams who might be trying to get away with going above and beyond the guidelines outlined above.

What's the Falcons training camp schedule?

The final, logical question. Here's the schedule, in case you missed it last week.

Friday, July 31 - Practice 10 a.m.-noon (open to the public)
Saturday, August 1 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Sunday, August 2 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Monday, August 3 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Tuesday, August 4 - Players' Day Off
Wednesday, August 5 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Thursday, August 6 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Friday, August 7 - KIA Motors "Friday Night Lights", Buford High School (open to the public)
Saturday, August 8 - Players' Day Off
Sunday, August 9 - Practice 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (open to the public)
Monday, August 10 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Tuesday, August 11 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Wednesday, August 12 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Thursday, August 13 - Practice 11:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. (open to the public)
Friday, August 14 - Preseason, Falcons vs. Tennessee Titans, Georgia Dome, 7:00 p.m. ET, CW69
Saturday, August 15 - Players' Day Off
Monday, August 17 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Tuesday, August 18 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Wednesday, August 19 - Practice 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)

Hope this was informative for you. Let us know if you have further questions about training camp.