FLOWERY BRANCH - Mike Smith walked into the room, rubbed his white hair and sat down at the podium.
ATLANTA - The Falcons are well aware of just how desperate this city is for its first Super Bowl championship.
FLOWERY BRANCH - When Todd McClure was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, they had just made it to the Super Bowl for the first time.
By CHARLES ODUM
FLOWERY BRANCH - When Matt Bryant is on the sideline, fully aware the game might be decided by his right leg, he'll drape a towel over his head to shut out the world.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Mike Nolan's 3½-year tenure as coach for the San Francisco 49ers offered few highlights on the field.
FLOWERY BRANCH, - A slip of the tongue gave away Atlanta coach Mike Smith's focus.
ATLANTA - It's 2010 all over again for the Atlanta Falcons.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Nearly every time Julio Jones reports to work, the second-year Atlanta receiver seeks out position coach Terry Robiskie.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Tony Gonzalez has no intention of pulling a Ray Lewis before retirement.
FLOWERY BRANCH - The Atlanta Falcons know what it takes to win in the regular season.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Last year's playoff disappointment hit so hard that Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith needed to change his staff from the top.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - The Atlanta Falcons have more than home-field advantage to help their chances against Seattle in the playoffs.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White has gotten over his initial disappointment of missing out on the Pro Bowl for the first time in five years.
ATLANTA - Matt Ryan refused to accept the rationale for why the Falcons were not motivated for their last regular-season game.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith has put a strong emphasis since the start of training camp on improving the team's run defense.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Corey Peters battled doubts about his future in the NFL after he tore his Achilles tendon late last season.
FLOWERY BRANCH - When the Atlanta Falcons drafted Jake Matthews, they figured he would take over at left tackle someday.
HOUSTON - J.J. Watt feels as if he gets asked about playing with Jadeveon Clowney every day.
HOUSTON - For Brian Cushing, there's no substitute to being on the field.
FLOWERY BRANCH - The mandate came from the top of the Atlanta Falcons' chain of command when the offseason began.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Antone Smith, best known for his special teams play in his first five seasons with the Falcons, finally has a chance to show he deserves playing time at running back.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Jake Matthews' first live NFL action gives Atlanta coach Mike Smith reason to think the No. 6 overall draft pick has potential to become an elite player.
ATLANTA - Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Miami's Ryan Tannehill showed how starting quarterbacks should handle preseason openers.
ATLANTA - The Atlanta Falcons hope to find clarity in the competition to determine quarterback Matt Ryan's backup in Friday night's preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins.
FLOWERY BRANCH - A visit from the Tennessee Titans on Monday didn't change the tone of the Atlanta Falcons' fight-filled training camp.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Steven Jackson's latest hamstring injury is giving Jacquizz Rodgers, Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith a chance to fill the void at running back for the Atlanta Falcons.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Matt Ryan is expanding his leadership role to include teaching young players and other newcomers in his seventh training camp with the Falcons.
FLOWERY BRANCH - The Atlanta Falcons need new leadership on defense, and coach Mike Smith says second-year cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford fit the job description perfectly.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Through the first two days of training camp, the Atlanta Falcons look just fine along the offensive line.