The Atlanta Falcons have been a trendy pick lately to win the NFC South and maybe go deep into the preseason.
If you put any stock at all into preseason games, it might be time to tone down the Atlanta hype a bit. In Thursday night’s 28-10 loss to New England, there weren’t many bright spots for the Falcons. A few observations:
A defense that looked good in the preseason opener, suffered a major letdown against the Patriots. The run defense was not good at all and the pass defense was no better. But keep in mind, the Falcons were playing without defensive tackle Peria Jerry and cornerbacks Dunta Robinson, Brian Williams and Brent Grimes.
The one bright spot for the defense might have been the play of defensive end Kroy Biermann, who had a sack and a tackle for a loss on a run play. Biermann’s one of several defensive linemen the Falcons think can emerge this season and, so far, he’s been doing that. Lawrence Sidbury, another young defensive end the Falcons have high hopes for, came up with a sack late in the game.
The first-team offense didn’t look bad. Matt Ryan was sharp and Michael Turner ran well and caught a couple balls out of the backfield. The Falcons even got receiver Harry Douglas into the lineup for the first time since he tore up his knee in training camp last season. But the Falcons weren’t able to get the ball into the end zone with the first offense.
One thing I liked that the Falcons did while Ryan was in the game was use a lot of the no-huddle offense. Ryan did well when the Falcons used that in his rookie year, but they kind of got away from it last season.
In a sign that they haven’t decided on a backup quarterback, John Parker Wilson followed Ryan and got extensive playing time. They know what they have in veteran Chris Redman and wanted to see more of Wilson. He did some good things, particularly showing his ability to throw on the run. But Wilson was far from perfect and I don’t know if he did enough to win the backup job just yet.