The Falcons allayed many fears Friday night when they came out with a sense of urgency and fire that seemed to be missing in the first contest against Lions. Just as you can’t get too worried about a bad preseason performance, you can’t get too excited about a solid one either. However, the offense came out and showed why it can be considered to have a lethal, explosive potential as a unit that can put up points, eat up the clock, and convert third downs. The defense came out with an intensity and fire that was certainly missing in Detroit. Many of the missed assignments seemed to be corrected and the defensive players were much more in the mold of the fast and striking defenders we had hoped for talking about in the off-season.
Matty Ice came out was on point, sharp, and in full command of all his loaded arsenal on offense. Ryan looked precise and accurate completing passes to his favorite target of last year Roddy White, a great new relationship with Michael Jenkins, and his new favorite person in Tony Gonzalez. Ryan completed back-to-back 70+ touchdown scoring drives converting several third downs, only missing a pass deep to Roddy White down the sidelines. The new addition of Tony Gonzalez was on full display on the second drive when Ryan hit the new tight end on a beautiful 14 yard strike in the end zone, putting it high where he likes it.
DJ Shockley had his big chance playing with the first team offensive line and having a pretty bad night overall. Shockley continues to be haunted by inconsistency and never being able to put a string of good drives or performances together. His teammates certainly didn’t do him any favors. Marty Booker bobbled a pass that should’ve been caught for a first down, but was instead tipped and intercepted. Brian Finneran also dropped a wide open pass later in the game that would’ve been an easy first down. Still, Shockley deserves much of the blame because he did have numerous opportunities to do good things and prove once and for all that he deserves the backup spot. Unless the coaches saw the game differently, Shockley is making it real hard for the coaches to justify letting Chris Redman go, who has proven he can start in the NFL and do well. Redman looks to have a big chance of his own against the Chargers on Saturday to prove he deserves to stay. DJ continues to force throws and not ever get into a good rhythm. Seemingly, Coach Smith and Coach Mularkey would want to use his abilities more in a wildcat type, dual threat potential, but none of that was seen. John Parker Wilson has certainly shown that he is capable of being a long term project in the 3rd backup role, leading the Falcons right down the field and looking extremely comfortable in the Falcons offense. The battle now looks to be between Shockley and Redman for the number 2 spot, like many of us imagined. What did you think of Matt Ryan’s second performance: great as usual or a weak Rams defense? Right now who do you keep: Shockley or Redman? Will the hometown hero Shockley and Falcons part ways? Parker Wilson a lock for the 3rd spot at this point?
Michael Turner continues to impress and prove why he’s considered one of the best running backs in the league, busting out a 43 yard run on the first possession and finishing with 65 yards on 7 carries and a touchdown in only one series. Pretty impressive start to the preseason so far, showing the burst, power, and superb ability of breaking tackles and rumbling for more yards. Norwood entered on the second series and had a better outing than Detroit, rushing 8 times for 36 yards, averaging out to 4.5 yards a carry. Norwood looks to have many opportunities to have a huge year, which he wants to make the most of in his contract year and prove he can be an every down back. Jason Snelling had a great night in the fight to be the 3rd option at running back, rushing for 61 yards on 12 attempts averaging over 5 yards and showing a quickness that many felt he may lack. Fairly or not, if Thomas Brown can’t prove he can stay healthy, than he will make it tough for the coaches to keep him on the roster. Potential only goes so far if he can’t stay on the field.
Wide Receiver/Tight Ends
The O-Line looked great as they have so far this preseason. The line cleared the way for Turner to rush for 65 yards on 7 carries on the first possession alone. Even though Norwood didn’t have a fantastic day, the line assisted him on averaging almost 5 yards a carry. Jason Snelling had an excellent day with the O-Lines help. The entire offensive line, first and second string, combined to only allow one sack, which Shockley shares some of the blame for by not being able to feel the rush from the outside. The Falcons only carried 9 offensive lineman last year, so someone looks to be the odd man out after the starting five. Free agent pickups Brett Romberg and Will Svitek look to be safe as experienced backups and rookie Garrett Reynolds has had an excellent start to the year, so the battle for the remaining one or two spots looks to be between Ben Wilkerson, Quinn Ojinnaka, and rookies undrafted free agents Jose Valdez and Ryan Stanchek. How’s the O-Line looked so far to you? Who makes up the backup line? Should the Falcons carry 9 or 10 offensive linemen on the roster?
Next Topic Preview: Defensive Redemption in St. Louis
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Daily Tailgate Recipe
Great fried chicken from Aaron McCargo, Jr. courtesy of FoodNetwork.com. Aaron’s Funky Fried Chicken.