A little late in writing this…but here goes!!! It’s been a minute since the Atlanta Falcons actually say they had a productive preseason. This is the second year that the NFL reduced the preseason to three games and added one regular season game to 17 games. I think the team played well this preseason, going 2-1 as they showed effort in all games. The last winning preseason was 2016 when the team went to the Super Bowl. That year the Falcons went 3-1 en route to an 11-5 regular season. There are very few players on the Falcons team left over from the Dimitroff, Quinn era. This is year two of Fontenot, Smith, and they are building their team to be tough and gritty just like during the Mike Vick years where the run game ran down the defense and wore them out late in games for wins.
Head Coach Arthur Smith has his style of quarterback, not just one but two of his style quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota will start the season as the starter, and QB2 Desmond Ridder is not far behind as a starter for this team, I believe, and he is the same style as QB1.
Game Notes: Jaguars at Falcons
Before a semi packed Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the Falcons and Jaguars closed out the 2022 preseason schedule. Mariota didn’t play as most starters on both teams didn’t, but that didn’t stop the hustle, especially on the Falcons. On the first pass that Ridder threw, he threw into enemy hands, but the Jaguars could only muster three points out of it, a win for the Falcons. It’s been a long time since the Falcons went an entire game not scoring a field goal, but all touchdowns. The final score was 28-12 with a touchdown scored by the Falcons in each of the four quarters. Ridder ended up the game throwing 185 yards and completing 14 of 21 passes. He ended up throwing a second interception, but the Falcons ended up having control of the entire game.
Notes for Upcoming New Orleans Saints Game One
Mariota will start the game and I think he will do just fine. Falcons might not win the game because these two teams always play well against each other, but the Falcons have a chance. Running back Cordarelle Patterson will be in the backfield and will be moving all around, and will probably catch a lot of passes as a wide receiver as well. At the wide receiver position you will see rookie Drake London and a lot of Olamide Zaccheaus as the one and two wide outs and a ton of Kyle Pitts as the catching tight end. I think we are going to see a lot of the run game, then play action to the wide receivers and tight ends. Head Coach Arthur Smith is going to have London involved a lot to get his feet under him because he didn’t play much during preseason due to a knee injury.
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees is going with the 3-4 defensive scheme that will line up at defensive line Grady Jarrett, Anthony Rush, and Ta’Quon Graham. I think the Falcons will see a lot of the Saints run game to test that defensive line. The Falcons have a solid cornerback bunch with AJ Terrell and Casey Hayward manning the corners, so look for Saints Quarterback Jameis Winston to test first year starting safeties Richie Grant and Jaylinn Hawkins.
This will be another close contest with Falcons winning 20-17. Check back next week to see if I’m right about the game and to read my post-game write up.
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