NFL requires transparent bags for 2013 season

Falcons remind fans about the ‘no outside bag’ policy

The Falcons will face the Jacksonville Jaguars at 7:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome in their exhibition season finale.

Before the exhibition opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Aug. 8, Georgia Dome officials held “hundreds” of purses for fans.

Despite widespread publicity since the new policy was announced by the NFL in June, several Falcons fans still brought bags and purses to the game.

The NFL, in the name of security, has implemented the “no outside bag” policy league-wide for the 2013 season. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, the league stopped short of banning all bags and purses from stadiums.

Fans can still bring in their items, but they must be in clear bags that do not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags or in small clutch bags.

At the game against Cincinnati, fans were allowed to check their purses and were given free clear bags. After the game, they could retrieve their bags or purses.

The check-ins were set up in a couple of parking lots, outside the gates and in the Falcons Landing area.

Some fans took to Twitter to call the policy sexist. Others, contended that their purses were given to someone else after the game.

The NFL contends that the policy makes for a safer environment and will help fans get through the gates faster.

“When we play Jacksonville for that last exhibition game, fans can expect the same thing,” said Jason Kirksey, Georgia Dome spokesman. “If you don’t need it, leave it at home. This policy is not going away. It’s an NFL initiative that we’re going to enforce the entire season.”

Receivers woes: Falcons coach Mike Smith said the video review of Saturday’s exhibition game at Tennessee wasn’t good for Drew Davis and Kevin Cone, who are expected to be the team’s Nos. 4 and 5 wide receivers again this season.

“I thought we didn’t catch the ball with those two guys,” Smith said. “We had a couple mental errors, and those guys have been around a couple years. But we got good play out of Drew Davis last year, and they are continuing to progress.”

Davis caught four passes for 40 yards in 2012, including a key 15-yard touchdown in a victory at Philadelphia.

Line struggles: Left guard Justin Blalock said the Titans pulled out all of the stops when they used stunts.

That may have caught the Falcons’ offensive line off-guard. Most teams stay with vanilla packages in the exhibition season.

“It was a matter that they had some things that were problematic,” Blalock said. “With hindsight, they could have been adjusted to. That doesn’t matter. We needed to communicate better on the sidelines and in the game as well.”

Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was a part of their Bounty Gate scandal, is on Tennessee’s coaching staff. Blalock saw some of Williams’ fingerprints on such a game plan.

“To an extent, there were some of his signatures on there,” Blalock said. “It’s not as if they took everything that those guys did.”

Etc.: Over the course of training camp, the Falcons have prepared for their season opener against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 8. That game will mark the return of Saints coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for last season because of the notorious Bounty Gate scandal. … Smith said he would use a playing-time plan for Thursday’s exhibition finale that’s similar to what he’s done in previous years. That likely means the first-team offensive line will play while the rest of the offensive starters sit, and the defensive starters will play a series or two. … Smith said that a radio report stating that Roddy White suffered a more serious injury (high ankle) sprain was not accurate. He contended that White will be available for the season opener.

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Staff writer Michael Cunningham contributed to this article.

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