For those of you who did not catch last night's Falcons preseason matchup with Jacksonville, simply put it was a very boring game to watch. The defense played well, and outside of one notable play the offensive was pretty sloppy and committed several penalties, and ultimately the Birds lost 13-15 in a game where score doesn't matter. Oh ya, and the starters played for the entire first half, which I found odd.
But again, this is what preseason games are for! The Falcons ran basic plays on offense because they didn't want to open up the playbook in a meaningless game. Sure, there were more than a few miscues on offense and missed tackles on defense, but given the short offseason I'm really not worried about any of that just yet.
However, here are a few points from last night's game that I found interesting:
This Harry Douglas guy is pretty good
That "one notable play" I mentioned earlier was a beautiful 76-yard TD pass from Matt Ryan to Douglas. Really what happened was Douglas caught the ball 20 yards downfield and then simply outran everyone else to the endzone. He also had a nice 11 yard grab to with his big play and another that was called back due to penalty. I really like the speed he brings to the table, and for Douglas this could be the year he puts it all together. Great stuff!
Julio Jones turned in a solid game
He wasn't nearly as involved as last week's game, but he did reel in two catches for 30 yards and looked like he was making good cuts while running his routes. With so much hype surrounding Jones so far, I feel like our expectations of him might be a little unfair once the season starts, but I still like everything I've seen.
Peria Jerry was impressive
He recorded a sack, though it was against the second-team offense. However, there was one play in the first half where Jerry should have sacked Garrard but fellow lineman Trey Lewis unknowingly pushed the QB out of Jerry's grasp. The point is he looked explosive coming off the line and is making a good case for more playing time this year.
Dominique Franks looked both good and bad
Franks actually posted seven tackles, a pass deflection, and a QB hit on the night. He showed off his great athleticism and ability to play the run. However, he also looked pretty shaky in coverage, including one play where he fell down and left his man wide open. Chris Owens, while he didn't do anything spectacular, probably had a better night and rebounded from his poor game versus the Dolphins.
The offensive line looked pretty shaky in pass protection
Keep in mind, this was not the fault of Garrett Reynolds, who had another solid night at right guard. The Jags weren't even blitzing, but it still seemed as if Matt Ryan was constantly under pressure from Jacksonville's front four. The left side of the line, Sam Baker and his backup Jose Valdez in particular, did not look too crisp tonight. I hope Baker's evil, mistake-prone twin doesn't rear his ugly head this season.
The Falcons offense really liked grabbing the Jags' jerseys
Mainly it was alot of "holding" and "false start" penalties, which usually start to disappear once the Falcons get more regular playing time in their systems. The Falcons were one of the least penalized teams in the league last year, so I wouldn't be too concerned with this game.
Jacquizz Rodgers had himself a quality game
The final line was seven carries for 39 yards, but there was also a TD run that was negated by yet another holding penalty. He showed great agility and vision, weaving his little way through the big O-linemen. He showed surprising sturdiness too, given his size. The Falcons clearly like this guy, and so do I.
A few more quick notes:
-Matt Ryan had several incompletions. Alas.
-Chris Redman again showed why he should be Atlanta's primary backup QB (10/14, 76 yards passing)
-Adam Froman did not make it into the game at all, even with JPW injured. That's bad news for Froman supporters.
-Antone Smith had a rough game, including a muffed punt that was recovered by the Jags
-Kerry Meier had a great catch that was overturned by a challenge. Point is, he looks good.
-Brent Grimes had a beautiful interception off Garrard
-Kroy Biermann also had a nice game, recording half a sack, a tackle for loss and two QB hits.
-Kiante Tripp got a good bit of work in with the first-team defense. Could be a surprise to make the roster.
-Cliff Matthews had another good night, and was all over the field.
-Speaking of Matthews, he, Jerry, and John Abraham were all shaken up in last night's game, but none of it looks to be serious. Coach Smith, that's why you don't want to play your starters for a full half.
-Matt Bryant was automatic yet again, nailing two of two field goal attempts.
-Matt Bosher looked a little better on kickoffs, but still average on punts.
-Ken Parrish again showed his strong leg and made his case to stick around another week
Final note: It's still the preseason, and I'm still ready for some meaningful football. And to think a month ago we were all begging for any sort of football. Man, I'm never satisfied, am I?