Now don't get me wrong, the team showed alot of positives last night, as well. There were a few great individual performances, and the Falcons first-stringers kept pace with the Steelers up until halftime. The Falcons may be 0-3 in the preseason, but that means absolutely nothing (if it makes you feel any better, the 2008 Lions went 4-0 in the preseason before finishing 0-16. True story!).
However, that doesn't mean the Falcons don't have areas they need to address. They still do. I think after tonight's game, however, the mistakes that were made could simply have been a case of preseason football. Dropped passes, penalties, and missteps in coverage can all pretty much be chalked up to simply a rough night all around. Let's look at specific performances:
Ray Edwards Played... I Guess
Edwards was very quiet in his preseason debut. He more or less didn't show up on the stat sheet, but there was maybe one time I remember seeing Ray scooting into the backfield and forcing a hurried Roethlisberger pass. I suppose it's good to hear that Edwards himself wasn't too happy with his performance. Regardless, he'ss still shaking off the rust, we can only hope he continues to play himself back into game-shape.
The Secondary Was A Little Sluggish
Actually, the secondary was really sluggish. The two TD passes to Antonio Brown were both close plays in which Brent Grimes nearly came up with a pick, but Roethlisberger pretty much picked the Falcons apart all night. Thomas DeCoud was out of position on one TD play, and on another Hines Ward broke free of coverage and almost came up with another long score. Dominique Franks looked a little wide-eyed out there. Still, I'm not too worried, and this looks to be a talented group once they have a healthy Dunta Robinson.
The Falcons Have A Potent Passing Attack
Roddy White finished with eight catches for 101 yards and a TD, Julio Jones made five grabs for 59 yards, and Harry Douglas caught three of his own for 31 yards. On the night, Matt Ryan went 22-for-42 for 220 yards, a touchdown and a pick. He wasn't immaculate, but also consider that two potential TD throws by Ryan were erased by a dropped pass and a penalty. This success, however, can mostly be credited to...
The Offensive Line Looking Much Better This Week
Although the first possession they looked a little overwhelmed, the O-line settled down quite nicely and gave Matty Ice good protection all game against one of the best pass rushes in the league. Garrett Reynolds had another nice game, as did Baker and Clabo. The group also paved the way for a couple of solid Michael Turner runs.
Jacquizz Rodgers Does It All
'Quizz carried the ball seven times for 38 yards in the second half, caught two passes for 12 yards, and blocked about as well as you could expect him to. He somehow managed to look shifty and tough at the same time. Yes, I realize this was against Steeler backups, but it's still worth mentioning.
A few more quick notes:
-- Jonathan Babineaux and Vance Walker each recorded a sack. It was a good night for the D-line.
-- Matt Bryant continues to be automatic, nailing all three of his field goal attempts in the game.
-- The kickoff coverage unit could use some extra practice. The Steelers had good position off kick returns all night long.
-- That said, our kick return unit looked good too. Eric Weems made a great cut on his way to a nice 48 yard punt return.
-- Sylvester Phillips fumbled in last night's game. Unfortunately, that'll probably cost him a job.
-- Neither Antone Smith nor Gartrell Johnson impressed either. Smith had a nice 19-yard catch and made a few tackles on special teams, so he might be slightly favored at this point.
-- Reggie Kelly didn't do much in his debut, save for incurring a false start penalty. The guy is here to block though, so I'm not expecting huge numbers or anything
-- Michael Palmer had a nice 19-yard catch and run in the third quarter. I'd like to see more of him next week.
-- No Darrin Walls appearances last night. Not necessarily a bad thing for fans of D-Walls.
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