Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 4/5/12
Some of the usual suspects on are on the Atlanta Falcons preseason schedule although with some new names leading the way, which will provide interesting subplots. For the last few years, the Falcons have held combined practices or scrimmages with Jacksonville, the organization where Falcons head coach Mike Smith came from in 2008, as he was defensive coordinator with the Jaguars under former coach Jack Del Rio. This season, the Jaguars host the Falcons in the teams preseason finale on Aug. 30, as first-year Jacksonville head coach Mike Mularkey takes the reins. Mularkey served as offensive coordinator for Smiths first four seasons and has received a good amount of credit for helping to develop Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan a project Mularkey is attempting to duplicate with the Jags Blaine Gabbert, a high first-round pick in 2011. Mularkey took Bob Bratkowski, who served as Atlantas quarterbacks coach for the 2011 season, with him and reportedly attempted to hire wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie but the Falcons denied him permission. On the other sideline, first-year Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter came to Atlanta after formerly working in Jacksonville. During the offseason, the Falcons signed a former Jags player in Vince Manuwai, who is attempting to win the job at right guard. The Falcons first preseason game will come at the Georgia Dome against Baltimore at a date that is yet to be determined. In 2010 during their run to the top regular season record in the NFC, the Falcons scored a dramatic 26-21 victory over the Ravens in a nationally televised game on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome, as Roddy White caught a 33-yard pass from Ryan with 20 seconds left in regulation. On Aug. 16, the Falcons will host Cincinnati and coach Marvin Lewis, who is one of Smiths confidantes and mentors. Smiths first NFL job after working at Tennessee Tech for 11 years was in Baltimore, first as a defensive assistant and defensive line coach from 1999 to 2001 and in his final season there of 2002 as linebackers coach. Lewis final season in Baltimore as defensive coordinator was 2001 and he enters his ninth season in Cincinnati, making him the longest-tenured coach in franchise history. University of Georgia fans will get to see Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, the former Bulldog. Last year, Green became the first rookie wide receiver voted to the Pro-Bowl since 2003. The all-important third preseason game the one in which the starters play the most, at least a half and possibly more comes on the road against Miami, a team the Falcons played in the preseason last year. That date also is yet to be determined. Like the Jaguars, the Dolphins also have a new coach in Joe Philbin, the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator. The Falcons played the Packers three times in the last two seasons, including once in the playoffs. Having missed out on the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, the Dolphins could come to town with Matt Moore, the former Carolina Panther, as their starting quarterback. Falcons first-year defensive coordinator Mike Nolan served as Dolphins defensive coordinator the last few seasons and had a top 10 defense in 2010.
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