Falcons – Jaguars (Random Notes and Comments)

While the Falcons lost 13 – 15, once again our first team beat the opposition. This is interesting because it may imply that the Falcons do not have enough depth.

The biggest concerns for me are the lack of a rushing game and the continued short passing dink and dunk offense. Jacquizz Rodgers looked more settled, which was good to see; maybe he can grow into the ‘change of pace’ role. If you discount Matt Ryan’s 76 yard TD pass to Harry D. (a lot of which was YAC), Ryan averaged a very pedestrian 6.6 yards / completion. While that is on par with last year, I was expecting the Falcons to open up the offense. Maybe they are just holding back until the regular season. I like fooling myself that way.

From the ESPN South Blog (Pat Yasinskas is always good for a lot of different info, and I really enjoy his perspective), on Harry Douglas:

With Jones and Roddy White lined up at wide receiver, Douglas lined up in the slot. He ran a slant route and never really was covered. He caught it in the middle of the field and headed for the sideline. He never was touched. But, just in case he needed help, Jones was downfield and ready to throw a block. That wasn’t needed.

The Falcons believe he’s a natural slot guy. That’s where Douglas is playing now and the difference is significant. With White and Jones on the outside, there are going to be plenty of times when Douglas doesn’t draw much coverage. If he makes a few big plays, he’ll get more coverage and that will mean less attention on White.

That will mean more big plays and that’s exactly what the Falcons want.

Agree. Harry Douglas has looked very sharp in the first two preseason games, racking up 5 receptions, 2 TDs, and is averaging almost 27 yards per catch. Not sure how many of those yards are YAC, but the totals are still impressive. It looks like Harry D. is finally turning into the slot player the Falcons expected when the front office secured him in the third round in 2008.

Back Mr. Yasinskas

Cornerback Brent Grimes continues to have a strong preseason. He had an over-the-shoulder interception deep in the end zone in the first half. He took it out and made several athletic moves before getting stopped around midfield. Although undersized, Grimes might be the best natural athlete to come through Atlanta since Deion Sanders.

I have to grudgingly agree. It is not as if I don’t like Grimes, but I keep saying this experiment will never work. Grimes keeps proving me wrong.

Preseason; the games don’t count, right? Sure. At some point the Falcons better put it all together and account for more than three first downs.

The starters played the entire first half and could amass just three first downs. Running back Michael Turner had seven carries for 14 yards. Julio Jones had two catches. Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez had one catch each.

It will be interesting to see if the Falcons try to be anything more than vanilla on offense next Sunday night against the Steelers, who by the way looked really good the other night against the Eagles. If the Steelers do not use generic blitz packages, they should be an interesting barometer for the Falcons offense.

Go Falcons!

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2 thoughts on “Falcons – Jaguars (Random Notes and Comments)”

  1. It’s hard to see the importance of preseason for teams with a lot of settled starters like the Falcons. If you ever watch Hardknocks, it makes it sound like coaches really care but the truth is, in the first couple of weeks, there are a lot of players who are just camp fill-ins, who are going to get in games to spell the real roster players, to minimize the chance of injury.

    And for the first team, they mostly run vanilla, to avoid tipping the opposition.

    But when you get Rex Ryan slamming his headset on the sidelines of the first preseason game, in the fourth quarter, you scratch your head.

  2. Agree – In general, defenses run vanilla blitz packages, and offenses do not really show their hand. My concern with ATL was that their starters only managed 3 first down in an entire half of play.

    It is a chance for the rookies to get some real game speed experience, and of course a chance for young QBs to continue to figure out how to play. Nothing beats a game, even a pre-season one over practice.

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