If there's one thing to take away from last night's game against Cincinnati it's that the Falcons remain consistent. Typically consistency runs concurrently with reliability, and reliability wins football games. Unfortunately 'consistent' for the Falcons this preseason had meant the first team looking as dangerous as expected, and the depth looking worse than we thought.
It wasn't that they played terribly, per se– they just looked lackluster. There were some standout performers like Dominique Davis who keeps making a stronger, and stronger case why he deserves to be in the QB discussion, and depth WR LaMark Brown paired extremely well with the aforementioned Davis.
The concern, much as it was last week was the pass rush. John Abraham was busy, and got fairly consistent pressure, but other than that there was very little to make like difficult for Cincinnati. Ultimately, only Peria Jerry registered a sack, and at this point Mike Nolan has to be aware that his defensive unit aren't getting the pressure he needs on a regular basis.
Some will be concerned about Asante Samuel's over aggressiveness, which allowed the long TD to A.J. Green, but really this is just how Samuel plays. For all the ball-hawking, and amazing INTs you take the good with the bad, and play's like last night's is the bad.
If you're one to keep the glass half-full, then pay attention to Matt Ryan, who is looking great this preseason. Against the Bengals he completed 86% of his passes, and was slinging the ball all over the field. Ryan was in command, in charge, and relaxed. Provided the Falcons' 1st team offense can stay healthy they'll be in for success.
This preseason is all about evaluating talent, installing new systems, and solidifying the nucleus– to that end the Falcons are playing their role to a tee. However, there are some concerning trends we're seeing on defense that need to be rectified ASAP. Nothing is approaching 'sky is falling' territory, but it's something to watch. It's worth noting that Atlanta are likely playing an extremely vanilla variation of their base defense, and for a creative coordinator like Mike Nolan this means we should see larger wholesale improvement when the regular season rolls around.