Radio: 790 The Zone and Star 94 FM (Atlanta); 690 WOKV and 106.5 FM (Jacksonville)
The Falcons enter Friday's game coming off a 28-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins in their preseason opener despite a solid outing from rookie wideout Julio Jones. The sixth overall pick in the 2011 Draft caught two passes for 43 yards and rushed for 12 yards on a reverse before the Falcons pulled him from the game, encased him in bubble wrap, and safely stowed him at an undisclosed location. Atlanta lost in part due to its inabiliy to stop The Big Play, yielding touchdowns on a 44-yard pass and a 75-yard punt return.
One has to figure the Falcons will continue to feature Jones during the few series he'll play, and look to tighten up its defense and special-teams play so as to not give up more Big Plays.
The Jaguars lost their preseason opener, 47-12, to the New England Patriots. Jacksonville managed just 193 yards of total offense, while the Patriots tallied 476 yards and only punted once. As bad as the Jaguars' offense was, its defense proved more inept, though it ought to have been encouraging that rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert played reasonably well (9-of-16 passing, 85 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions) in his NFL debut. They'll need an all-around improvement to keep pace with Atlanta.