(I’ll be back with the game column shortly, which will focus on the Falcons’ offense. Until then, here are three quick thoughts’ on the Falcons after their opening game against Kansas City. This is a new feature in the AJC.)
1. Julio Jones is Falcons’ No. 1 weapon: Every receiver can be stopped by some defense or cornerback at some point. But opponents are going to struggle to contain Jones this season, particularly in an offense that has so many options and with a coordinator (Dirk Koetter) who is far less predictable in play-calling than Mike Mularkey. Jones had three receptions and a touchdown before the seats at Arrowhead Stadium got warm. He had six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns by halftime.
2. Jacquizz Rodgers is no longer MIA: The running back, seldom used in his rookie season, had a 77-yard kickoff return and had eight “touches” on offense (34 combined rushing and receiving yards). Rodgers doesn’t yet show the ability to be an every-down back, but he’ll clearly be in the rotation with Michael Turner and he gives defenses something else to think about.
3. Defense remains an early concern: The Falcons had significant defensive problems in the first half and seldom pressured Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, who picked apart a soft zone defense. It looked disturbingly similar to last season. Things got better in the second half, but that might have been more the product of the Chiefs self destructing. Cassel threw two interceptions (William Moore and Stephen Nicholas). However, John Abraham registered a sack and forced a fumble that the Falcons converted into a touchdown drive. Bottom line: The defense will need to create a better pass rush.
– Jeff Schultz