Sometimes the plan does not come together, originally its an idea, then crafted on paper with the last stage being execution. No matter how well prepared, it all starts with step one. The Falcons started with a penalty on the very first snap of the game. It’s preseason. There’s no reason to panic, but it would be nice to start on the right foot.
The drive appeared to have a short shelf life three and out, but the Falcons went into their bag of tricks. The treat was a successful fake punt, directly snapped to back up safety Sherrod Neasman. They earned the bonus series, but the drive stalled on a false start by Jamon Brown at the 20-yard line followed by a missed 39-yard field goal by Giorgia Tavecchio. I am not keeping count, but that’s three misses in the last two games, 52, 52, and 39 yards.
Coach Quinn on how do you evaluate the missed field goal with Tavecchio? I know last week he took ownership for the misses that he had and said he was going to improve this one was closer in, how are you looking at that situation? “Well, I think like everything. We are going to evaluate that spot like others as well, so to us, that’s what the preseason is for, getting a chance to look at guys, to see what they can do, and develop players. That’s part of the fun of the preseason, seeing who can develop and what they can be, but, as far as, that goes same standards for everybody in evaluating performances. That’s where we are.”
How concerned are you? “I think #1 Early there was one or two that was long, but at any time at any position you know when we missed the mark we want to find out why? And what we can do to get it better? Its definitely a spot where we are continuing to evaluate that is always the case.
Translation, get it together by the next game, or I am going to look for someone else. Tavecchio got his start in the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2012 with the San Francisco 49ers but played his rookie season in 2017 with the Oakland Raiders before stepping in for an injured Matt Bryant last season in Atlanta connecting on 5 for 5 field goals. Impressive enough to earn the starting job. Unfortunately, it’s not looking good. I hope Bryant is keeping his leg warm.
Matt Ryan had to escape the pocket and pick himself up off the ground a few times but did not suffer any sacks. It appears as if though someone plugged the whole in the wet paper bag performance of the offensive line a week ago that resulted in three sacks. Tonight they provided sufficient time for the most part, but receivers were not open, causing Ryan to attempt to extend plays with his feet, which is not a pretty sight. He is better served in the role of Money Matt tossing darts similar to the 24-yard pass to Justin Hardy who redeemed himself for dropping a wide-open touchdown last week. Ryan finished the game 9/14/74 yards.
Preseason is about matching a potential player in a particular situation for affective evaluation.
Second-year tackle Matt Gono, 6’4 305Lbs from Division III Wesley College got his opportunity to play with the starters on the offensive line. He allowed one hit on the quarterback but overall performed well. In his college career, he never allowed a sack and helped lead the Wolverines to the best offense in the NJAC. The Falcons are hoping that impressive statistic continues.
Big James Carpenter 6’5 321 Lbs participated his first action of the preseason at left guard due to a hip injury. The former Superbowl winner picked up from the New England Patriots is as a big as a wall surely he presented a challenge for defenders along their path to the quarterback.
Coach Quinn on the offensive line: What did you see about the line play that you liked there? “#1. From the protection, that was the spot to me that we really wanted to address. And I thought there were too many hits last week with Matt; tonight there were no sacks. I don’t know the number of hits, I thought for us that was a big space, we had some different guys in, it was nice to see Carp (James Carpenter) get his first action, good to see Gono (Matt Gono) get his first action with the first group. We are still not where we are going to be, but I was pleased with the performance tonight with them.
Devanta Freeman got two quick touches, a run on the first play, and a check-down pass before he was assigned to the sideline for safekeeping
Newly acquired QB Danny Etling from the New England Patriots got his opportunity to play the second half he is targeting the third spot behind seasoned veteran Matt Schaub.
Defensive End Tak Mckinney provided a highlight, catching a forced fumble recovery that appeared to be an interception. He ran it back for 17 yards.
The forgotten one Duke Riley had to be the surprise of the game he balled making 6 tackles and featured in one heck of a goal-line stop. He played like he was fighting for his life in Atlanta.
The kick return game is putting the word special in special teams with two muffed kicks.
The Washington Redskins took preseason game four 19-7. The Falcons haven’t won a preseason game since 2016. Head Coach Dan Quinn said,” these games are lots of learning moments to find out about players, what could happen in games, and who can be developed.” He went on to say.
I was excited about the defense. They got a good stop towards the end of the first half on first and goal at the 1-yard line and came out with a field goal. I thought that was a big moment in the game, after that, I saw a lot of different guys in different spaces make plays so we got lots to watch tonight and tomorrow and we will look forward to doing that before we get to wrap up the final part of the preseason.
All photos by William Curtis