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Posts of category  "Falcons"

We can sum up Brunskill’s preseason performance by pointing out the team traded a 5th round pick for someone who gave up a billion sacks.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We knew this one was coming. Daniel Brunskill was probably a long shot at cracking the 53 after coming in very light for an offensive lineman. He made the transition from tight end to tackle late in his college career, and he just still was not ready for the NFL.

 waiving OT Daniel Brunskill, per source.

Wasn’t good sign for him when they traded for Sambrailo.

Tough break. Brunskill will hope to latch onto the practice squad. However, based on Twitter instant reactions to his play, that may also be a long shot.

Lets see what the Twitterverse had to say.

The combo of Pasztor and Sambrailo at backup OT is much better than it was a few weeks ago, so there’s that. Brunskill/Knappe aren’t ready.

It’s still not great, but it is definitely better than past years where the team relied on Tom Compton and Bryce Harris.

Going to assume butt booty is not a positive assessment.

Not sure if Brunskill is worth keeping around if he keeps giving up pressure to Deuce Bigalow

I checked and Deuce Bigalow is not actually an NFL player. This is another bad sign.

Another disappointing end, but the Falcons have better answers at offensive line depth than they have had in years.

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After an evening of contemplation, here are some in-depth thoughts on the Falcons’ fourth and final preseason game.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday’s game was difficult to watch and downright boring at times. At other times, it was quite entertaining—particularly when the Falcons were on defense. Honestly, the best part about the fourth preseason game is that it was the final preseason game. Which means that we’re on to the regular season!

Still, the Jacksonville game did tell us some interesting things about the roster. Some players had excellent performances that may have secured their spots on the 53-man roster and practice squad. I’m not going to claim that I watched the game again—even I have somestandards—but these are the main points that I remembered after processing the game overnight.


LB Jermaine Grace should make this team

Grace looked like a man on a mission against Jacksonville. He knew he had an opportunity with the uncertainty surrounding LaRoy Reynolds’ injury, and he made the most of it with his performance on Thursday night. Grace was making plays all over the field: he looked fast, physical, and instinctual from the LB position. He also got plenty of snaps on special teams and came up with a great tackle on kick coverage. Grace should make this roster as the final LB, even if Reynolds’ injury is less serious than we think.

Eric Saubert showed enough to save his roster spot

Saubert was in a dicey spot heading into this game. Two disappointing performances in the first and second preseason games had put his position on the 53-man roster in jeopardy. Fortuitously, he had a decent performance against the Cardinals that gave us some hope. Against the Jaguars, I believe he did enough to secure his spot. His blocking looked better—though it’s still the weakest part of his game—and he made an absolutely fantastic catch in traffic. He was always going to be a project, but it now looks like he could be ready to contribute at some point this season.

There will be a lot of difficult decisions to make on the DL

The players that undoubtedly stood out the most against the Jaguars were the two EDGEs, J’Terius Jones and Chris Odom. Jones has had an excellent preseason and continued with another strong performance on Thursday. Odom got off to a quiet start, but has now had two exceptional games in a row. The Falcons probably want to keep both of these players around, but it will be difficult to make that happen. I think Jones ends up on the roster due to his positional flexibility, and Odom ends up on the practice squad. Both could be valuable contributors in the future.

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The Falcons appear to have escaped the game without any serious injuries.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons came into preseason Week 3 needing to do just three things against the Arizona Cardinals. In no particular order, those three things were:

  • Not ruin the nice new field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium;
  • Make sure the players they need to evaluate got playing time;
  • Avoid major injuries.

I’d say they checked all three of those boxes, with the last one being particularly critical. The Falcons did inevitably lose some players along the way, but none of them were starters, and none of them appear to have suffered the kinds of injuries that threaten a season, at least at first glance.

First, we had LaRoy Reynolds, who exited the game very early after hurting his shoulder on the opening kickoff. Reynolds is a reserve linebacker, but he’s a solid one who also is one of the core veteran pieces of Keith Armstrong’s special teams units, so he’s a useful player the Falcons would rather not lose. With any luck, he’ll be back in action for the regular season opener.

Falcons LB LaRoy Reynolds has a shoulder injury – Return to the game is “questionable”

Next, there’s Brian Hill. The fifth round rookie back had a better game this time around but was still arguably outplayed by Terron Ward, who has shown a remarkable ability to stick around and also seems to get better every year. If the ankle injury Hill suffered is enough to knock him out for multiple weeks, the team may be tempted to stash him on injured reserve so they can keep Ward and worry about Hill next year. Failing that, they’re going to have to decide whether they want to build a roster with four backs (unlikely), or risk losing Hill if they want to keep Ward. Tough call.

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ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 22: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates a Falcons touchdown with quarterback Matt Ryan (2) in the first half of the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. The Atlanta Falcons won the game 44-21. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire)

TODD KIRKLAND/ICON SPORTSWIRE

So many things went right for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016. With an offense that led the league by averaging more than 33 points per game, the Falcons ran and threw their way to an NFC championship and a Super Bowl appearance.

Although the Falcons fell short against the New England Patriots, they not only kept the core of their team but added some pieces they hope will take them over the top.

Different Falcons stepped up last year, making it tough to name the 10 best Falcons on the roster. Rookie Takkarist McKinley didn’t make the list. Corners Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant also fell short of the top 10.

Here are the 10 best Falcons on the roster.

  1. S Ricardo Allen

Moving from cornerback to safety, Ricardo Allen played a team-high 1,101 defensive snaps at a high level. He finished the regular season with 90 tackles and two interceptions and added two more during the team’s Super Bowl run. He is the playmaker in the secondary.

  1. DT Dontari Poe

Defensive tackle Dontari Poe wasn’t with the Falcons last year, but he gives the squad a former Pro Bowler who can not only clog the middle but get after the passer if healthy. Poe had a career-low 27 tackles last year with the Kansas City Chiefs. He has a chip on his shoulder and the Falcons hope he translates that anger into prime performances.

  1. DT Grady Jarrett

A person who should benefit from having Poe beside him is Grady Jarrett. He broke out in the Super Bowl, sacking Tom Brady three times. That number equaled the amount of sacks he had in the regular season. Jarrett doubled his tackle total from his rookie season of 2015. His mixture of power and speed should help him improve in his third season.

  1. S Keanu Neal

Every team needs a hard-hitting enforcer. Safety Keanu Neal is that man for the Falcons. He doesn’t mind coming down in the box to help in the run game, but he also roams the secondary well. Neal was second on the team with 106 tackles. He forced five fumbles.

  1. C Alex Mack

There are not many offensive linemen who would be considered on a team’s 10 top players list, much alone a center. Alex Mack was the glue to the Falcons’ offensive line last year and got everything started. He was a key reason why the Falcons averaged 33.8 points per game and 120.5 yards rushing.

Atlanta Falcons' Alex Mack plays against the New England Patriots during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

  1. LB Deion Jones

As a rookie last year, linebacker Deion Jones started 13 games. He led the team in tackles, had three interceptions, and led all linebackers with 11 pass breakups. Jones has shown he can play the run as well as the pass. He is the engine of the defense.

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Falcons fans buzzed around their new home to come see Atlanta play its first home game of the preseason.

ATLANTA — Mercedes-Benz Stadium came alive for the first time on Saturday evening. Falcons fans buzzed around their new home to come see Atlanta play its first home game of the 2017 preseason, a 24-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

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Although the Falcons dropped their third game of the preseason, there are still plenty of reasons for optimism as the regular season draws near. Coach Dan Quinn will have a lot of good film to review with his team before Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After the game, Quinn took a moment to acknowledge all of the hard work that went into building Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Before we begin tonight, I really want to acknowledge the thousands of men and women that really have poured a lot of their energy and time and heart into this stadium,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. Our team, we’re so damn excited to be here. So for all of the men and women who created this lasting legacy, we wanted to make sure we acknowledged all of you – how much we appreciate all of the work you’ve put in.

“As I said earlier, we were so damn excited to play. It didn’t turn out like we’d like, tonight, in terms of the way the finish happened for us, but I did want to acknowledge it’s so special to be here back with our fans and, in this, our home.”

Here are the five biggest takeaways from Saturday’s game.

Coleman stands out

The Falcons’ first-team offense didn’t look as sharp as it had thus far in the preseason, but running back Tevin Coleman was at least one starter who stood out.

Atlanta has shown some creative ways to get their speedster the ball in space, and it was effective in doing so against the Cardinals on Saturday. Coleman had three carries for 19 yards and caught one pass for 14 yards.

Starting running back Devonta Freeman missed his second straight preseason game as he continues to progress through the NFL’s concussion protocol. Freeman and Coleman form one of the league’s best backfield duos, and both players should see plenty of action in 2017.

Defensive newcomers make big plays

Atlanta’s depth on the defensive line improved greatly over the offseason, and two new additions made several big plays against the Cardinals.

First-round pick Takkarist McKinley showed nice burst as a pass-rusher and harassed Arizona’s quarterbacks when he was in the game. On one play, McKinley forced Drew Stanton to move up into the pocket where defensive tackle Jack Crawford was waiting for the sack.

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The Atlanta Falcons will look to make it out of their regular season dress rehearsal healthy.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We’re only an hour away from kickoff for the third preseason game, which will pit the Falconsagainst the Arizona Cardinals. The starters should get plenty of run, there will be a glimpse of Julio Jones, and the defense will finally be tested by a living, breathing starting quarterback. For one half, at least, it should be a fun game.

If you’ll be watching it along with us, be sure to check out the key info below, and then check out our Twitter tracker. Let’s hope for a healthy, productive Falcons team when all is said and done, as we do for every preseason game.

Falcons vs. Cardinals 2017 preseason info

Time: Saturday, August 26, 7 p.m. EST

Channel: CW69

Announcers: Justin Kutcher/Coy Wire

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

OddsThe Falcons are 4 point favorites

Prediction: Falcons win, 31-20

Opposition: Revenge of the Birds

Twitter: @TheFalcoholic

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheFalcoholic

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Spelman College student Anta Njie, We The People Atlanta organizer Charles Bourgeois and Morehouse College student Chinelo Tyler speak on the Atlanta University Center campus Saturday about the Millennials March. CHRIS JOYNER / CJOYNER@AJC.COM

In what was dubbed a “Millennials March,” a group of about 130 protesters filed past tailgaters Saturday before the first-ever game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with fists raised and promises they will be factor in local and national politics in the months and years ahead.

“This is just a fraction. This is drop in the bucket,” said Charles Bourgeois of We The People Atlanta, one of the coalition of activist and student groups behind the march. “We will determine the elected officials who run our nation.”

The group largely consisted of Morehouse and Spelman college students, and they were clear that one elected official they could do without is President Donald Trump. Expressing a common theme in recent protests, leaders of the group complained that Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., was inadequate.

“Move Trump, get out the way,” the group chanted as it left the Atlanta University Center. The chant, adapted from a song by Atlanta-based rapper Ludacris, emerged as a rallying cry in Atlanta last week in a much larger march to protest the violence in Charlottesville.

The march almost didn’t happen. Organizers said there was confusion with the campus over permits, and speeches were hastily arranged on a nearby street corner.

The protesters met with mixed reactions as they neared the new stadium where the Falcons were preparing to face the Arizona Cardinals in a National Football League exhibition game. Many took photos or honked their horns in support, while others kept their distance.

“They are all my age and seeing something like this is kind of emotional,” said Nicole Niles of Fayetteville.

Miles, who is white, said she agreed with most of what she heard from the all-black protest group, with the exception of when the group began the chant “keep Atlanta black.” That sounded wrong to her, she said.

“It’s like saying keep Peachtree City white,” she said, adding, “which it is.”

The scene did provoke some discussion among fans who milled around outside the gleaming $1.5 billion stadium. But the conversation eventually bent back to football and the news that star receiver Julio Jones, recovering from offseason foot surgery, would play.

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We focus on three players who are in a precarious position after the second week.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons get to delay their roster cuts down to 53 players until after the fourth week of the preseason, but that just means the roster bubble is bigger, and it takes a bit longer to burst. There are players who by “virtue” of their preseason performances find themselves ever closer to the edge of that bubble, and after the Steelers game, we have three more who make the list.

Daniel Brunskill

After turning in a solid performance versus Miami, Brunskill was destroyed against the Steelers on a regular basis. It was the kind of performance that can unfortunately get a player cut, especially when that player is operating with a razor thin margin of error thanks

The fact that Brunskill was hardly alone in this one matters little for his prospects, especially with Austin Pasztor now in the fold. The team is likely to only keep one tackle on the practice squad, and Brunskill will have to rebound to show that slot should be his, particularly with Kevin Graf turning in a fine performance.

Deji Olatoye

Look, I don’t think preseason results should cripple a player’s chances of making the roster, particularly when the player in question has regular season experience and quality play under their belts. That said, Akeem King looks improved, Jarnor Jones looks very good for a rookie, and C.J. Goodwin has both more experience and more special teams value than Olatoye. He’s not going to be handed a job, and while I still think he’ll be the fifth corner, he’s not the lock I once thought he was.

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 Here are five things we learned at Falcons practice on Tuesday:

1. Jones looked great. Head coach Dan Quinn said he’ll “consider” playing All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones in game three. Jones looked like he was getting ready for action. He made a nice strong move on an inside route and zoomed past the safety. On another play, he ran past the coverage and tracked down a deep throw from backup quarterback Matt Schaub, who can still get it out there. Jones looked good and was moving well.

2. Freeman sighting. Running back Devonta Freeman did some running before going back inside sporting one of the black bucket caps.

3. Pads came off. About an hour and 40 minutes into the practice the Falcons took a break, replenished with some fluids and took over the pads.

4. Grace returned. Linebacker Jermaine Grace, who missed the Pittsburgh game with a hamstring injury, was back at practice.

5. McKinley spoke. First-round draft pick Takkarist McKinley spoke to the media after practice. Get back later for the story.

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Don Wright/AP

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Justin Hunter (11), rleft, reaches the ball across the goal line for a touchdown as Atlanta Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins (32) defends after making a catch in the fourth quarterof an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Here are five things to know about the Falcons today:

1. Practice. Falcons coach Dan Quinn will meet with the media before practice at 1:30 p.m. The team is set to practice at 2:20 p.m.

2. Depth chart. Ben Garland remains listed with the first-team at right guard in the official depth chart released by the Falcons on Monday.

3. Stadium walk-through. The Falcons are set to visit their new home on Friday.

4. Collins’ replacement. The Falcons are looking long and hard at the cornerbacks on the roster. They must find a replacement for Jalen Collins, who’s been suspended for 10 games for violating the league’s performance enhancement drug policy.

5. Injury report. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, who’s in the concussion protocol, is close to returning. Freeman did not play against the Steelers, but talked with Quinn.

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