After all the preparation, the long and grueling hours on the field, and hitting teammates, the Preseason is here upon us. While it may be a satisfaction to us fans to finally get to see some football after months and months of waiting. The Preseason is a ways for coaching staff and veterans to work out the kinks before opening week in the season, and an audition for rookies drafted and undrafted to showcase their skills and to make their case on why they should be part of the 53 man roster. The Atlanta Falcons are one of those teams, as they opened their preseason against the Washington Redskins.
Offense: The first team offense were very slow to start off and it seemed the timing was off in the beginning. Matt Ryan only played one series but was zero for four on his pass attempts. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman had some pretty good runs but also played a couple series. Julio Jones didn’t catch any passes and new acquisition Mohamed Sanu had 2 receptions for 18 yards.
Second team offense played a little better. Veteran Matt Schuab played very well going 10 for 15 with 179 yards. Brandon Wilds had 10 carries for only 26 yards but scored the only rushing touchdown for the Falcons. Aldrick Robinson was Schaub’s favorite target, hauling in three catches for 118 yards, including two very long receptions.
The offensive line seemed vastly improved, as they gave up zero sacks. Although there were some breakdowns in blocking at times, the o-line seems like it is starting to get, and will during the course of the season.
Defense: The defense seemed a lot faster and more aggressive to the ball then in years past, which is what Head Coach Dan Quinn has preached since he has been in Atlanta. The most noticeable abscence from the defense was first round draft pick safety Keanu Neal. Rookies Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell made solid debuts with nice open field tackling and always seems to have a nose for the ball. The defense also collected 3 sacks, which is a positive sign for the Falcons considering they were dead last in the league in sacks last season with only 19.
Special Teams: It was pretty much status quo for special teams, expect for one play. J.D. McKissic took the second half opening kickoff and raced 101 yards to the end zone for kickoff return touchdown. This was a statement by McKissic who is trying to make the Falcons roster as an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State. He has a long road ahead, but if he continues to make plays like he did on special teams, he can definitely make the case.
Summary: The Falcons outgained the Redskins 359-234 in total yards and had more first downs as well 17 to 14. Even though Ryan didn’t complete a pass and some Falcon Fans are hitting the panic button calling for Schaub to be the starter, just remember it’s the preseason and they are working out the kinks. They will get back to work in training camp and prepare for the next preseason game against the Cleveland Browns.