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Falcons set to hold joint practices with Jaguars and Jets this summer

After practicing with the Dolphins a year ago, the Falcons are going to get a look at their preseason opponents a little early.

New York Jets v Atlanta Falcons NFL London 2021 match Photo by Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

Last year, the Falcons traveled to Miami for joint practices with the Dolphins ahead of their preseason game, seeking to test their mettle and get some live work against an opponent in practice. Those session were mostly encouraging for the team and the Falcons, partly on the strength of those practices, eschewed rolling out starters through most of preseason.

This year, Arthur Smith has made it clear we’ll see more of the starters in preseason, but that hasn’t dampened the team’s enthusiasm for joint practices. The team announced Wednesday that they’ll be hosting the Jaguars in the week leading up to their Week 3 final (and only) home preseason game, and Kimberley Martin at ESPN reports the Jets and Falcons may hold joint practices before their primetime Week 2 preseason game, as well.

Last year, Smith had a lot of good things to say about the joint practice with the Dolphins, as FalconsWire wrote at the time. We know now that the team’s strong pass rushing performances in those practices didn’t exactly translate—they had a league-low number of sacks and got Tua Tagovailoa just once in their regular season meeting—but the intensity of the sessions and the opportunity to see another team in practice to provide different looks was something the coaching staff was clearly a fan of.

“I thought it went well — it was really good work on both sides,” stated Smith following Wednesday’s practice. “I thought it was a very productive day on all three phases.

Coming down here was very productive. Different scheme, different players, in a great environment… You like to get the work in with programs with respect.”

We’ll see if and when the Jets joint practices are confirmed, but the Falcons and Jaguars will link up on August 24-25, per the team. This will be an opportunity to see a little bit of a rebuilding Jaguars team with a new coaching staff, a second-year high-upside quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, and an intriguing defense in the making. It’s also not the first time these two teams have practiced together, as they did so during the Mike Smith era when the two teams seemed to freely swap coaches and players back and forth.

The hope will be that the extra joint sessions and the time for starters in preseason helps Atlanta hit the ground running in the regular season after a dispiriting 0-2 start put them in a deep hole to start 2021. If nothing else, though, the Jets and Jaguars will give the team some fresh faces and new challenges in practice this summer.