Falcons LIVE: It doesn’t count but it’s still Ryan vs. Brady

Matt Ryan chats one Hall of Famer (Troy Aikman) and tonight faces a future one (Tom Brady).

The Falcons' Matt Ryan chats with one Hall of Famer (Troy Aikman) and tonight faces a future one (Tom Brady).

Welcome back to almost-football season and tonight’s exhibition (the NFL hates when writers use that word) between the the Falcons and New England Patriots.

This probably isn’t as big a game for the Patriots as it is for the Falcons. New England sports fans certainly are more preoccupied with today’s story that former Red Sox pitcher-turned-hated Yankee Roger Clemens has been indicted for perjury by a federal grand jury. (As, it turns out, he may have lied about using steroids and HGH. Go figure. And now, this editorial comment: hahahahaha.)

Back to tonight. If you didn’t make it out to Flowery Branch this week for the Falcons-Patriots practices, they were pretty cool. Having two teams practice against each other, even in controlled drills, definitely led to a raised intensity level.

Expect to see more of this in the future. With the NFL expected to trim the exhibition season from four games to two — in concert with lengthening the regular season — coaches will need another avenue to grade players. Even something as basic as a Falcons’ passing skeleton against the New England defense can tell coaches more than if they were just in team drills.

Similarly, tonight’s game may tell us a little more about what to expect from the Falcons when the real games start. True, exhibitions don’t count and game plans are vanilla, as teams are more concerned about evaluating personnel and getting out of a game healthy than they are scheming against a certain offense and defense. But starters played only a couple of series against the Chiefs and they’ll be in there longer tonight, likely well into the second quarter.

A few things to watch:

♦ How does the Falcons’ defense handle Tom Brady, Randy Moss and company? The secondary had a difficult time staying with Moss in practices Tuesday, though that hardly put them in exclusive company. It’s worth noting, however, that at least four projected regulars are not expected to play: cornerback Dunta Robinson (hamstring), defensive tackle Peria Jerry (knee), safety William Moore (groin) and cornerback Brian Williams.

♦ To what extent do the Falcons try to get wide receiver Harry Douglas involved tonight? Douglas, returning from a torn ACL last year, has looked sharp in practice this week and I imagine offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey would like to know how much he’ll be able to stretch opposing defenses this season.

♦ How sharp is Matt Ryan and the offense? The Falcons’ offense moved down the field twice with the starters on the first two series but came away with only one field goal. They stalled on the Chiefs’ 12 in the first series (leading to three points) and at the 35 on the second (missed field goal). Improved play in the red zone would be nice.

OK, that’s it for now. I’m going to grab some coffee and then we can get this thing started. I’ll post some scratches and lineup changes in the comments as soon as they become available.

Looking forward to tonight. Back to chat soon.

467 comments Add your comment

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
6:49 pm

Officially not playing for the Falcons tonight: Michael Jenkins, Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson, William Moore, Brian Williams, Jerious Norwood, Jason Snelling, Thomas Johnson, Peria Jerry.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
6:51 pm

Among the Fox broadcasters here tonight former Falcons coach Jim Mora, who’s actually on Fox’s No. 3 team — and he’ll reportedly be on the broadcast crew for the Falcons’ first game at Pittsburgh. That could be interesting.

KrishATL

August 19th, 2010
6:53 pm

hope the young CBs show something in this game…

KrishATL

August 19th, 2010
6:55 pm

JS, who do u think is going to start opposite Robinson at CB? do u go for a veteran in Brian Williams (assuming he’s healthy) or go for the upside/youth in Owens/Grimes?

Dave

August 19th, 2010
6:55 pm

Is this game on tv outside of the Atlanta area?

KrishATL

August 19th, 2010
6:56 pm

it will be on NFLtv later at night, but it won’t be shown live.

Bravissimo

August 19th, 2010
7:06 pm

Its listed at 8 on fox here in Savannah

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
7:18 pm

KrishATL — Personally I’d go Williams over Grimes and I’d put Williams third, but that’s just me.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
7:19 pm

Dave — I think it’s national.

Parson Brownlow

August 19th, 2010
7:22 pm

Better Fox than ESPN. Maybe we will not hear “Brett Favre” 100 times during the broadcast.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
7:24 pm

FYI, Wes Welker appears back from a torn ACL. He’s on the field warming up for the Patriots.

mountain_jim

August 19th, 2010
7:25 pm

William Moore – will he ever play? Getting closer to TD’s first bust every inactive week.

I am happy to be getting to see the game live here in WNC this week.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Greg Foster, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Falcons LIVE: It doesn’t count but it’s still Ryan vs. Brady http://bit.ly/cCzN0a [...]

Whofan70

August 19th, 2010
7:31 pm

Will be nice to see future HOF’s Brady and Moss in Atlanta. I went out to the shared practice at Flowery Branch and it was great to see both teams practicing together. BTW – it was interesting that Belichick was the only member of either team to sign autographs for the fans after the morning practice. He signed a lot and had some good fan interaction.

REAL FALCON FAN

August 19th, 2010
7:54 pm

THIS IS A GREAT TEST FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FALCONS , ROBINSON OWENS AND JACKSON WILL BE STARTERS ,JACKSON AS NICKEL. RISE UP YOUNG BIRDS ,GO FALCONS!

Savannah Fan

August 19th, 2010
8:01 pm

Let’s get Bear in the game

NRBQ

August 19th, 2010
8:04 pm

Jeff:

Your cut-line writer got it wrong. I’m sure that’s Hall-of-Famer Sam Malone in that pic.

(Boston connection, to boot!)

Jeff

August 19th, 2010
8:04 pm

Damn, I thought this “talk” would be more than a comment thread.

Oh well, I love Obama too?

Chuck

August 19th, 2010
8:04 pm

Stop trying to build Ryan up, hasn’t won anything. Besides, neither QB play defense. I hate dumb comments.

Bob Horner

August 19th, 2010
8:06 pm

This game counts Jeff…I got $10 on it and I layed the 2.5pts….there are degenerates that read your blog…don’t take us for granted….go birds..!!!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hank Humphrey, D. Orlando Ledbetter, D. Orlando Ledbetter, Cheryl Hunt, Jeff Schultz and others. Jeff Schultz said: Are you ready for some practice football! LIVEblogging on #Falcons-#Patriots. Kickoff in 5 mins . . .http://bit.ly/bOi3pv [...]

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:08 pm

And we’re off .. FIRST PITCH, 8: … wait, wrong sport.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:09 pm

Birds showing two TEs early.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:11 pm

3 straight plays for Turner and another first down. Offense looks good early.

Jimmy

August 19th, 2010
8:11 pm

The drive looking good…
Need a downfield throw here on first down.

Jimmy

August 19th, 2010
8:12 pm

Pats gearing up to stop the run.

Mtn Falcon

August 19th, 2010
8:13 pm

Drive looking good. Ryan and Gonzalez looking good. Turner looks like last year.

Jimmy

August 19th, 2010
8:13 pm

That was a blitz check down.
Go long.

Pepe

August 19th, 2010
8:13 pm

I like seeing Harry D. running around…

Mtn Falcon

August 19th, 2010
8:14 pm

Game looks good in HD. Didn’t have it last season.

Mr Charlie

August 19th, 2010
8:14 pm

Turner has the greezed pig look about him again. (no offense my muslim brothers)

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:15 pm

Nice drive but like last week stalls again. Falcons have to settle for FG try.

Mtn Falcon

August 19th, 2010
8:16 pm

So many starters on off and def out…

Jimmy

August 19th, 2010
8:16 pm

Were the receivers that well covered on that play?

mountain_jim

August 19th, 2010
8:16 pm

That kick would have been good from 60

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:16 pm

Ryan went 4-6 for 33 yards on drive, completing his first 4 attempts.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:17 pm

NRBQ — That’s Sam “May Day” Malone. And who would be Norm and Cliffy in this exercise.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 19th, 2010
8:17 pm

When Brady washes his hair….Do you get the feeling that he rinses but doesn’t repeat?

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:18 pm

Bob Horner — You wagered on a preseason game. My man!

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:18 pm

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:19 pm

There’s Welker.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 19th, 2010
8:20 pm

Bob Horner’s bookie is the rooster…Rakes him on the sun up bet.

Jimmy

August 19th, 2010
8:21 pm

Welker looked dazed on that sweet kiss!

Jimmy

August 19th, 2010
8:21 pm

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:22 pm

This No. 12 guy’s pretty good. Just sayin’.

Jimmy

August 19th, 2010
8:22 pm

Dang…our third down D is still struggling

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 19th, 2010
8:23 pm

Falcons asking for noise against Brady might as well be buying lottery tickets.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2010
8:23 pm

Moss had zone beat but had to hold up for pass, coverage caught up.

Jimmy

August 19th, 2010
8:24 pm

We can’t win third down.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 19th, 2010
8:25 pm

Brady’s baby momma is hot. Very.