Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was limited in practice on Monday because of an undisclosed injury. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon also left the practice with the Cincinnati Bengals after apparently injuring his hand.
Jones was scheduled to speak to the media, but was not made available because of injury and was escorted off the field by a member of the public relations staff.
“Julio only went through limited reps today,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said afterwards. “It was mainly precautionary.”
Smith said the team was “watching his (work) load.”
Weatherspoon started practice, but didn’t finish.
“I haven’t really talked to the trainers yet in terms of what came out of this practice,” Smith said. “There was some contact. It was a very competitive practice. Sean did not finish practice. He left the practice and I don’t have any update on that right now.”
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff appeared distraught when talking to the Marty Lauzon, the team’s director of sports medicine. Smith also talked with Lauzon before addressing the media.
Jones, the Falcons’ prized third-year receiver, has sparkled throughout training camp.
Weatherspoon was the Falcons second-leading tackler last season with 114.
In addition to Jones and Weatherspoon, fullback Bradie Ewing and running back Antone Smith did not practice with undisclosed injuries.
HBO “Hard Knocks” debut: A 30-member film crew attended at practice to shoot scenes for HBO’s show “Hard Knocks.”
The popular documentary is focusing on the Bengals this preseason and debuts Tuesday night.
The team will get a chance to view the first episode at 7 a.m. Tuesday at Legacy Lodge and Conference Center on Lake Lanier Islands, where the team is staying.
Cincinnati cornerback Adam Jones, who played at Westlake High, is expected to be featured along with injured Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green, a former Georgia standout.
“It is what it is,” Jones said. “You can’t let it distract you. Thank God, I’ve already been through this situation before. Just staying humble and keep working hard and make sure the cameras don’t distract you from your job.”
Defensive end Michael Johnson is set for his second appearance on the show.
“It’s something you can look back on with your family and laugh at,” he said.
While the Bengals have twice embraced the show, the Falcons have declined offers to be on “Hard Knocks.”
Some Atlanta fans have clamored for an appearance for the franchise, which never had back-to-back winning seasons until Smith arrived in 2008.
“We’ll trade them,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “You don’t have to give us much for them, either. It won’t be like a Julio trade, you know what I mean?”
On the other hand, Lewis said the show has been a distraction.
“It’s fine,” Lewis said. “It’s really not all you wish, but people think it’s more than it is. These guys bust their tails to do their job. You get to know them.
“They are out and if somebody is moving, they are working, following them and they try to put a show together. We’ve got a football team to put together and that’s the most important thing.”
Bengals injury report: Tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee), tackle Reid Fragel (knee), wide receiver Tyrone Goard (concussion), wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (ankle), fullback Chris Pressley (knee), tight end Alex Smith (knee), defensive tackle Larry Black (ankle) and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee) did not make the trip for Cincinnati.
Black was scheduled to have surgery on Monday.
Practice battles: The Bengals defensive line group won most of their clashes against the Falcons.
Cincinnati defensive end Dontay Moch dominated Atlanta tackle Alec Savoie on one rep. Also, Bengals tackle Vaughn Meatoga over powered Falcons guard Theo Goins in one matchup.
The Falcons’ defensive line vs. the Bengals’ offensive line was determined to be a draw, but Atlanta’s Osi Umenyiora was dazzling.
Both coaches were pleased with the work.
“I thought it went well,” Lewis said. “We were able to get work against good people.”
Smith said, “I thought it was outstanding. … We’ll get an opportunity to go out and compete against one another on Thursday night. We can go out there and tackle and do those things. … Logistically, there were no issues.”
Matchups key: At times during the practice, the Falcons’ No. 1 units were matched up against the Bengals’ No. 3 team.
“We wanted to have some work against different groups,” Smith said. “One thing we wanted to make sure of is that over these next couple of days, we get work against everybody. We want to see some of our young guys against their better players.”