Observations on the Falcons

So far anyway, that trade up to get Julio Jones is looking pretty darn good for the Atlanta Falcons.

The rookie wide receiver had a great debut Friday night as the Falcons opened their preseason with a 28-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins. But Jones was instrumental to the Falcons jumping out to a 17-0 lead during the time when both teams were using many of their starters.

Jones, the sixth overall pick in the draft, made an immediate impact on Atlanta’s offense. Although the first team only played three series, Jones made two catches for 43 yards and also ran for 12 yards on a reverse. The Falcons weren’t trying to hide their regular-season plans for Jones. They opened the game with a pass intended for the rookie. That didn’t work, but just about everything else did.

Jones’ first catch came on a short drag route that turned into a 21-yard gain. He also caught a downfield pass from Matt Ryan. Jones earned first downs on his first three touches.

Some other observations on the Falcons.

  • While much of the early talk will be about Jones, the Falcons showed signs they might be more explosive on defense. Defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Brent Grimes came up with interceptions early in the game.

  • Ryan missed on his first four passes, but completed his next six. His final one was a bullet to Harry Douglas for a touchdown.

  • Interesting that the Falcons went with John Parker Wilson as the second quarterback after Ryan. Chris Redman has been the backup. The Falcons already know what they have in Redman, but he’s carrying a salary-cap figure that’s more than $3 million. If Wilson (12-of-19 for 111 yards with an interception) shows he’s ready to take a step up the ladder, Redman could be a cap casualty later in camp.

  • Michael Turner ran well, but didn’t play long. It was interesting to see how quickly the Falcons got Jason Snelling on the field. He had missed a big chunk of training camp before re-signing with Atlanta. Looks like the coaching staff was trying to help Snelling make up for lost time.

  • Defensive end Ray Edwards, the team’s biggest signing in free agency, did not play after an offseason knee operation. Kroy Biermann got the start in his place.