I know it is just preseason football, but my goodness, the Falcons do need something to hang their hat on Thursday night against the Ravens after falling 34 – 16 to the Steelers last night.
For the first time this preseason, the Falcons starters ‘lost’ during their tune-up time, 24 – 16, which I guess is respectable, but not enough to inspire confidence.
You can break down all the tape and come away with a lot of different concerns, but for me I was left with two thoughts. First, the one knock on Julio was his ability to hold onto the ball. We say it firsthand last night on a wasted play.
Julio Jones, who was brought into bring explosive plays and allow Ryan to showcase his arm, slightly beat his man and dove for a pass that couldn’t have been put in a better location.
One slight problem — Jones dropped the pass. But, hey, it’s a preseason game and the fact he dropped it doesn’t really matter. What’s important is Ryan — who completed 22 of 42 passes for 220 yards with one touchdown and one interception while playing only the first half — showed himself, his teammates, his coaches and his critics that he’s got a big enough arm to do some deep damage.
The Falcons have made it pretty clear they’re going to throw down field more often this season. Now, they should have the confidence to do it frequently and maybe Jones will hold onto the ball.
I bet A.J. Green holds on to that one. I doubt teams watching the tape are going to back off in coverage until Julio proves he can hold onto those catches. I wonder if anyone keeps track of a balls dropped statistic, because I have a sick feeling in my stomach (and it is not because of too much beer and chips last night) that Julio is going to be a top five contender.
Second, and this has been the case for a while now, the secondary needs help. Today. As in the Falcons better try to trade to improve now or they can kiss any deep playoff run bye-bye.
From the Q&A with Coach Mike Smith via D. Orlando Ledbetter’s ajc.com blog:
CONCERNED ABOUT THE PASS DEFENSE?: I’m concerned when you give up big plays. You can’t give up explosive plays. We talk about it all the time. We can’t give them up and you have to try to create them on the offensive side of the football. There were some very good things that took place in the ball game in all three phases. After the opening kickoff that they ran back, I thought our coverage units did a good job. We had a nice punt return by Eric Weems. Defensively, until the first half they weren’t able to run the ball. We thought we had a pretty good handle on them.
Nice deflection there by not directly addressing the issue. Bringing up the coverage on kickoffs is another concern. Unless he is just messing about, Matt Bosher does not inspire confidence that he can drill kickoffs into the endzone. Seems like an oops to me taking him with a 6th Round pick.
Final thought; Falcons are not running the ball. I thought Jacquizz Rodgers looked pretty good in his second half action, but Turner, not so much with the first team.
Hopefully the Falcons are holding something back until the games actually count. At least I keep telling myself that.