Ravens – Falcons (Preseason Week 1)

It’s preseason; offenses are not sophisticated and the defenses are vanilla. So what can the Falcons take from their 31-17 loss to the Ravens?

Our starters beat their starters 17-7. Except for an absolute stupid looking mistake in the Red Zone, early on Matt Ryan (9 for 13, 155 yds and 1 TD) looked fantastic, and Julio Jones looked like the real deal bringing in 6 catches for 109 yards and a TD, all in the 1st qtr.

The offense really reminds me of a semi West Coast flavor, without the slants, and of course the Falcons can’t spell screen pass. Lots of short patterns, but I expect that they will open things up once the games actually count.

Injury Report
The injury report will merit closer inspection:

Atlanta starting linebacker Akeem Dent (knee) [sic – head injury] and rookie backup fullback Bradie Ewing (head) [sic – knee injury] left the game with injuries.

Ewing hurt his right knee when blocking on Dominique Franks’ 45-yard punt return midway through the first quarter. Ewing, a fifth-round pick from Wisconsin, was helped off the field before being placed on a cart and driven to the locker room.

Dent walked off the field with the head injury he suffered when blocking on a Falcons punt. He is expected to take over at middle linebacker after Curtis Lofton signed with the Saints and Lofa Tatupu suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in training camp.

When I saw Ewing go down, I figured it was injury settlement time. Hopefully it is not that bad.

The Dent injury left we wonder WTF the Falcons coaching staff was thinking. Why on earth did they have their potential starting middle LB playing on special teams in a preseason game no less?!? What a boneheaded move! Coach Mike Smith disagrees with me; apparently the Falcons starting middle LB is a “base” player and a key contributor on special teams. No regrets from Coach Smith. Probably. Hopefully Akeem is OK; he played really well,

Stepping In For Ryan …
The backup QB situation is very disconcerting. In limited action, Chis Redman looked horrible, and John Parker Wilson isn’t much in the way of an NFL ready backup. I’m not sure if Redman is really cheap, or if there is nothing in the way of backup QBs on the market.

Tailgate Experience
It wasn’t much of one. Because of the weather, we decided to stop for some burgers on the way to the Dome. That turned out to be a good plan; while the rain did clear up, our tailgate would have been pounded. Instead we were able to say dry, and still ended up with some time to have a few cold ones one throwing around the football with the boys.

For those of you that don’t know, preseason tickets cost the same amount as regular season seats. If you want to pony up for season tickets, you end up paying for 10 games (2 preseason and 8 regular season games). Same for parking passes, which really does stink considering my pass is $20 per game, but the lot was only charging $5.

Making matters worse, as always, there was very little security presence in Lot A; there never is to be honest. Thankfully there weren’t as many vagrants as is typical during the regular season.

While season ticket holders pay full price for the privilege of preseason games, apparently the Falcons front office doesn’t consider preseason games to be worth their effort. No Falcons Landing or any other interactive fan experiences were made available. Why? Probably because everyone knows preseason games are only going to be lightly attended, which brings me back to my point that the Falcons really should discount these tickets if they are not going to support the games with the full fan experience.

Free T-Shirts Bring Out the Worst in Humanity
Or something like that; so says my wife. In the 3rd quarter, the Falcons staff made it to our mezzanine section (231) to hand out free t-shirts. Of course everyone is going nuts – over a free t-shirt (black, Defend the Dome flavor).

I manage to grab one and give it to my oldest son. The folks passing out the shirts see this gesture (“… this dad must rock …”) and attempts to give one to one of my other boys, but some jerk jumps in front of my 10 year old and grabs the prized shirt.

Repeat; the shirt passer-outer is clearly PO’ed at this point and hands me the shirt to give to my boy, and another kind lady gives us one for my 5 year old. We even manage to get mom one too, but not so much for dad, which is OK, because my boys have million dollar smiles on their faces, which is what it is all about.

The staff did a great job of trying to find all the kids in my section to make sure they got shirts; it was clear the jerks were out in full force and willing to steal candy (err, shirts) from the children. Free t-shirts really do bring out the worst in humanity.


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