The Falcons lost Friday night 30-22. It was the second preseason game, so there’s still plenty of time for the team to figure out what needs to be figured out. In other words, who cares they lost.
Sure, everyone on the field in uniform prefers to win. But no one will lose sleep about it. This is about getting ready for the regular season, preparing for a new season with a new coach and plenty of things to be labeled as ‘new.’
When the Falcons’ first unit was on the field, the team did very well. They won the first quarter 14-0, so in reality, Atlanta’s reserves got beat by New York’s reserves 30-8. Okay, there’s some concern with that, since depth is important, but what’s more important is what did happen early on with the starters.
Matt Ryan did his thing. He completed four of five passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. He hit fullback Collin Mooney on a long 60-yard reception. The touchdown pass was to Leonard Hankerson for two yards.
Hankerson continues to impress as he tries to replace Harry Douglas, who signed with Tennessee over the offseason.
With the top three running backs (Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith) all out with hamstring injuries, the running game was non-existent. But certainly one of the backs could have found daylight at some point. The backs rushed for 31 yards on 21 carries, an abysmal statistic.
It does make you wonder how the offensive line is doing. It’s a work in progress, as the players are adjusting to the zone blocking scheme. But the longest run of the night was for 13 yards, the only double-digit run of the game for the Falcons.
The defense gave up 355 yards, but we did see some positives. Adrian Clayborn and rookie Vic Beasley showed pressure, with Clayborn getting a sack on Jets’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with help from Beasley.
The athleticism is obvious, with more speed on the line of scrimmage. Ra’Shede Hageman missed the game with a concussion, but that allowed Jonathan Babineaux to get more snaps and he did well.
Atlanta’s defense totaled three quarterback sacks and four quarterback hits. What will happen when the first-team defense is on the field for the entire game against Philadelphia in week one? Well, with more positive glimpses of what’s to come, there will be plenty of anxious fans waiting to find out.
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 email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Falcons show improvement in loss to Jets
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