Falcons have a lot to discover vs. the Jets

What should we expect Friday in game two against the Jets? Will Matt Ryan get more time behind center?

Usually, it's game three that is important to the preseason. But that's likely not the way new head coach Dan Quinn is looking at things as his Falcons prepare to play the Jets in the second exhibition game of the season Friday night.

The win over Tennessee last Friday was impressive. However, the first unit was not in for long. We will likely see most of the starters in for more series in New York. It's time to put the new pieces in together to see what kind of team this may be this season.

This offensive line is practically new. While Ryan Schrader finished the season as the starting right guard, he's starting his first full season as the starter. The guards are now James Stone and Chris Chester, both new. They replaced the benched Jon Asamoah and the released Justin Blalock. Stone was the center last year after Joe Hawley was injured. Hawley is now back for what the Falcons hope will be a healthy year.

But quarterback Matt Ryan needs time with his new line of scrimmage, so expect the coaches to allow the starter to get more snaps with the first unit offensive line. He needs to make sure his line is adjusting to the new zone blocking scheme.

Of course, the lack of a healthy running back could be a problem in examining the offense. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are game-time decisions. Both missed last week with hamstring injuries. Now Antone Smith is likely out, as well. He injured his hamstring last week against the Titans.

We will likely get a great chance to analyze the two backup quarterbacks Friday night. Last week, third-stringer Sean Renfree outplayed second-stinger T.J. Yates. So Renfree might have the edge on the veteran in the competition. But the battle will continue Friday night.

Last week the first-team defense looked good, so we need to see more of it Friday night. Vic Beasley played only 10 snaps, but that will be increased likely in game two. It's a shame Ra'shede Hageman will be out with a concussion. But that might provide more snaps for Tyson Jackson, who has looked good as he has slimmed down and could be more significant this season.

Let's see more of Adrian Clayborn, who is an interesting player and, if healthy, could be an important part of the defense.

The secondary is a bit of a mess right now for the Falcons. Desmond Trufant and William Moore are injured, so will we see more of Jalen Collins at cornerback? And the coaches will see what the team looks like without Moore, which was scary last season when he missed significant time with an injury.

There are players who need to do well against the Jets. On defense, how about Kroy Biermann? Is he still on the team? He was MIA last week against the Titans. If Asamoah gets significant minutes, he better perform well and show he can play in the zone blocking scheme. Fellow offensive lineman Peter Konz better prove he belongs on this team, as his job seems to be in jeopardy.

It's only week two of the preseason, but it's as important as week three in a normal exhibition season for a new coaching staff that has a ton of work to still do this month.



Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.


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