The Atlanta Falcons kick off their first game of the NFL preseason later Friday night against the Miami Dolphins. Even though it's only an exhibition game, there's plenty to be gleaned from watching the contest (viewing information here).
Dave Choate broke down three of the key matchups to watch over at SB Nation's own Falcoholics, and while the defensive front seven and rookie punter Matt Bosher don't have an easy task ahead of them, the most interesting thing to watch might be where Matt Ryan is with regards to his receivers.
This game will be the first chance to see if Ryan, Roddy White and rookie Julio Jones have been able to develop any sort of chemistry in the abbreviated off season. As Choate notes, the Dolphins' secondary is no slouch
Sean Smith and Vontae Davis spring readily to mind. The Dolphins made physical cornerback play a priority by drafting the enormous Smith (6'3") and the talented Davis. Neither has truly lived up to their potential yet, but both are young and present tough matchups for Roddy Whiteand Julio Jones.
Heck, even the second stringers are going to be trouble. Will Allen and Nolan Carroll aren't exactly slouches, so it'll be interesting to see how some of our guys duking it out for a roster spot hold up. Yeremiah Bell and Chris Clemons aren't spectacular, either, but they're solid.
So the Falcons will get to try out their high octane passing game against a competent secondary. It's not the Eagles, but it'll do for a start.
If the matchup analysis is not enough to get everyone excited, just be excited football is back!