After a loss to Jacksonville, the Falcons will end their long preseason with a 1-3 record. The preseason losses have not made any impact on the confidence of this team as they approach the final week before kickoff. Coach Mike Smith has said repeated that the main goal is to be healthy heading into the first game and despite being a little thin the starters appear primed to go.
Most of the headliners got the night off and watched as their counterparts got a chance to carry the Falcons for a game. Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Michael Turner, Jonathan Babineaux and John Abraham all sat out. Overall five offensive starters and six defensive starters played in this game and were planned to get one series before passing the torch off to the second unit.
Their curtain call ended up coming faster than expected. Jacksonville received the opening kickoff and on their first snap fumbled with Vance Walker who was in place of Babineaux recovering it to end the night for the first defense. On the next play, the offense went one and done also and Jacquizz Rodgers who got the start found a lain and bounced outside for the touchdown. The Falcons were on the board just 16 seconds into the game.
It was a big night for the Falcons’ rookie free agent quarterback Dominique Davis who got his first start. The former backups John Parker Wilson and second stringer Chris Redman were both let got earlier this week and Davis was getting a final chance to solidify a backup role. Like he has done all offseason, the rookie was impressive again and had a solid performance against what was Jacksonville’s first defense for the early going.
The importance of this offseason and the quality of work and preparation put in has been enormous. Going in the two new coordinators had to install their playbooks and iron through all of the position battles. The quarterbacks stole the show this offseason with the former Boston College Eagles Ryan and Davis showing they are in top form, but their were plenty of players that make this team into a contender. Turner was strictly limited this preseason to avoid any unnecessary fatigue or injury before the season and will combine forces with Rodgers who showed a complete skill set this offseason. Jones and White were both sharing the load and both look ready to be the top guy if needed. Defensively this unit was aggressive all offseason and did a great job of forcing the turnovers.
The 53-man roster was finalized earlier today. Linebackers Spencer Adkins, Pat Schiller, Jerrell Harris and Rico Council were waived along with wideouts Drew Davis, Marcus Jackson, James Rogers and the injured Kerry Meier. In the secondary Dominique Franks, Peyton Thompson and Marty Markett were trimmed off the roster. Other scratches include Bryce Harris, Tyler Horn, Dimitri Nance, Donrad Obi, Micanor Regis, Mike Cox and Joe Zelenka. For the most part the cuts were younger second and third year players. All of these guys provided valuable competition to what has been momentous offseason for the franchise and well deserve recognition for their work. Sept. 2 kickoff in Arrowhead Stadium is a week away and all of the preparation this offseason will be put to the test.