The Atlanta Falcons have played two pre-season games so far and have come away with two losses. Does that bother me? Not in the least. The exhibition season isn’t about records it’s about deciding the future of your team and this team is headed in the right direction.
The offense of the Falcons looks good so far. Unlike the first pre-season game, it took a bit to get going for the Falcons in this game but I still liked what I saw. Matt Ryan went 18 of 21 for 174 yards and a touchdown and he looks to be very much on his game. The top two receivers, Julio Jones and Roddy White, have looked great so far but I’m still waiting for the others to step up. Is there a better one-two punch in the NFL than Julio and Roddy? Tony Gonzalez grabbed three balls but we know he’s going to deliver. Gonzo’s back-up Michael Palmer has made a couple of plays and I’m intrigued to see more of Chase Coffman (who looks more like a hybrid WR/TE than pure TE). At RB, Michael Turner has been catching some flack from the fanbase for looking slow but he showed he could catch the ball out of the backfield. Jacquizz Rodgers has looked good so far and his role should be increased this season.
The defense had it’s moments of good and bad. The most obvious bad play was when the ginger haired assassin Andy Dalton threw a beautiful strike down the sidelines right to AJ Green, who had beaten Asante Samuel, for a TD. That deflated some Falcons fans hopes but I was probably more shocked by the perfection of the pass than AJ taking it to Asante. Asante is a gambler and at this point in his career he’s not a lockdown one-on-one corner, especially against an elite player like AJ Green. The defense had a couple of strips, with one by William Moore creating a turnover. Peria Jerry got in the backfield again and looked good for the second straight game despite getting a needless penalty. Overall, the defensive line looks good. John Abraham, Kroy Biermann, Lawrence Sidbury and Travian Robertson were all doing things to stand out during the game. Ray Edwards even made a play or two. The defensive line cut is going to be tough for the coaches.
Someone who really stood out was back-up QB Dominique Davis. It was late in the game so most had probably turned off their TV sets but Davis made a push for the team and for more playing time in this game since both John Parker Wilson and Chris Redman have had unimpressive pre-season outings so far. Davis was the first one to step up and he looked really good although he did make some “rookie” mistakes. He also didn’t get some help as he had more than a couple of drops from the third and fourth string receivers he was playing with. Davis needs to get some game-time reps with the second team. He has a much higher upside than JPW and if he can play anything like he did on Thursday, he needs to make the roster.