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Falcons Fall in Miami: The Good, Bad and Ugly

I know…. it’s preseason and fans shouldn’t take these games seriously.

However, coaches and players trying to earn a roster spot take preseason games seriously, so these games do have a little meaning. Which brings me to my good, bad and ugly of the Atlanta Falcons’ 23-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins in the first preseason game.

The good:

-Nice opening drives by both the first-string offense and defense. Quarterback Matt Ryan and offense looked like they didn’t miss a beat in transition to new offense coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Ryan connected with the newly resigned Devonta Freeman for a 15-yard touchdown. The defense forced a three-and-out, thanks, in part to the speed of the linebackers, which stood out in the run game with second-year players De’Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones getting quickly to ball carrier.

-Speaking of Campbell, he had a nice interception later in the quarter. It’s good to see he can rush the passer and drop back in coverage. I don’t expect him, or Jones, to go through a sophomore slump this season.

-Cornerback Jarnor Jones also grabbed an interception, a beautiful one-hander near the sideline.

-Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu had a beautiful one-handed catch. From all of the positive reports coming out of training camp, Sanu will probably have a big year.

-Wide receiver Andre Roberts had a nice return in the first quarter, which set up the touchdown drive. He is competing with others for the kickoff/punt returner position.

-It was good to see the backups score before halftime with Terron Ward finding the edge for a 3-yard touchdown run.

-Wide receiver Reggie Davis is fast.

The bad:

-The second team defense had nice pressure at the line of scrimmage, but there were too many open receivers in the secondary, more than lightly due to young players still learning the coverage schemes. Hopefully, that will improve by game 2 of the preseason.

-The second string offensive line needs to improve in the run game. They did ok in pass coverage, but there weren’t many holes opening up for runners.

-Not a good look for cornerback C.J. Goodwin giving up a long touchdown pass on an under thrown ball. He needs to do a better job of locating the ball in the air, especially for a player who is projected to see a lot of playing time this season.

-Wide receiver Marvin Hall was playing pretty well on special teams, until he fumbled on the kickoff midway through the fourth quarter. Can’t have fumbles when you’re competing for a roster spot.

The ugly:

-Not sure if the Falcons plan on keeping cornerback Jalen Collins, who will serve a 10-game suspension for his second consecutive PED infraction. Although he had a nice pass breakup near the end zone in the third quarter, that was quickly forgotten after he was burn on a 99-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. That touchdown gave Miami the lead (another blown lead…). Collins also gave up a deep pass on a third-and-11 play.

-It’s preseason, so there will be a lot of penalties, but rookie tight end Eric Saubert had two bad penalties, one that called back a touchdown.



Photo credit: Joe Skipper/Getty Images

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