Injury report: Falcons at Lions

DETROIT – The Falcons are relatively healthy and plan to play their starters for about a quarter in the exhibition opener Friday night against the Lions.

“Everybody’s on different plans. Some of the guys that weren’t out there (Wednesday) you’ll see Friday night,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “Some guys you probably won’t.”

Penalty watch: Early exhibition games sometimes are marked by sloppy play and several penalties. The Falcons have focused on executing plays and eliminating pre-snap penalties.

“There’s a huge point of emphasis,” Smith said. “Whoever I talked to after the game, if we’ve got 25 penalties, I’m going to be a little irritated. We want to make sure our operation is as clean as a whistle.”

Growth opportunity: Smith looks at his second exhibition-season opener as a growth opportunity.

“I’ve noticed a tangible difference when I was 30 years old than I was at 40,” Smith said. “Every day is an opportunity to grow and improve as a person and as a coach, and that’s my charge, that’s all I focus on.”

Vick at practice: Smith was pleased to see Michael Vick at practice Wednesday.

“I’ve gotten to develop a little bit of a relationship with Mike. We’re of a similar era, anybody that was born pre-’90s knows he was probably one of the most electric football players anybody’s ever seen play,” Smith said. “It’s been cool to get to know Mike and having him around all of our players. We welcome those guys with open arms and when guys come back, they’re important to me and this franchise.”

Bernhardt watch: Wide receiver Jared Bernhardt played a year at nearby Ferris State after a spectacular lacrosse career at Maryland.

While Bernhardt’s route-running is a work in progress, he has flashed his speed. He should get some opportunities on special teams and offense against the Lions.

“I’m excited to see him compete, that’s not easy to do he’s a talented athlete,” Smith said. “The guys got the right mindset, and we’ll see what happens.”

Vick likes Pitts and London: Vick, who’s an NFL analyst for Fox now, enjoyed watching Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts and rookie wide receiver Drake London.

“They’re big guys,” Vick said. “They got the size advantage right off the rip. Walking into any stadium, they (have) an advantage in that area. You got to use that the right way. I think this offense and the way it’s catered, will allow them to be effective and use the size of their receivers.”

Vick contends that training camp is an important part of getting ready for the season.

“When it gets to a point where guys understand what needs to be done and that’s what’s most important when you step on the field,” Vick said. “You got to know what you’re doing. They have a great understanding of the game plan. They (have) a chance of being really successful.”

Franks ready for mop-up duty: Feliepe Franks, who spent most of training camp working at tight end, got some work with the offense at quarterback on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder are set to get most of the snaps against the Lions.

“Yeah, it depends on how the game goes, but yeah he’s got to be ready to go,” Smith said.

Smith considers the number of snaps the quarterbacks will get strategy and therefore off the table for discussion.

“I’m not going into strategy, but if you want to hedge your bet, it won’t be 50/50,” Smith said. “I’m not going to go into the exact number, just going to have to see as we get in there towards (the game) I’ll have a clearer picture, but it won’t be 50-50.”

The Bow Tie Chronicles

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