Playing for their NFL Lives, rookies, practice squad, and bubble players put their best feet forward trying to make a 53 man roster by Saturday. No time for mistakes or injuries that could be detrimental, time to suck it up and go. Second-year Guard (92) Joey MBU was a prime example. In the second half, he was whacked appearing to have a shoulder injury as he lay on the turf until medical assistance arrived to escort him to the sideline. He refused to stay there knowing it could jeopardize his position with the Falcons. During our post-game interview, he revealed it was a hand contusion, not a shoulder which allowed him to get an x-ray for precautionary reasons and get up and fight for that roster spot. The 6’3, 310 Lbs. a giant of a man was as positive as ever as he explained his 2016 philosophy “I went back to my old college number of 92 this year it just makes me feel more comfortable and I got a sack. No matter how big tall short or small they are always looking for that competitive edge.
Most of the starters didn’t play for either team. Matt Ryan only played the first couple of snaps, it probably took him longer to get dressed than the time he played. I have never understood that but I am sure it has value, perhaps it helps star players prepare mentally, like getting into the routine of game day.
Julio, no last name needed, wasn’t in the building. He came up a little gimpy on a long pass play that resulted in an interference call last week against the dolphins. It was best for him to keep the weight off his twisted ankle and elevated, can’t have him operating on one wheel, all of Rise UP Nation hopes the fix a flat routine worked, that sports car is needed on the field. He is only the NFL’s top receiver at the tune of 136 pass receptions for 1871 yards, 8 touchdowns at the rate of 13.8 yards per catch.
Newly acquired pass rush specialist Dwight Freeney took the night off with a little back issue.
Last years’ number one pick out of Clemson (44) Vic Beasley did get some playing time at his new position of linebacker. He said, “the adjustment is going good, and he was starting to feel more comfortable and is starting to make plays”. The combination of him Devondre Campbell and Deion Jones looks promising. There may be a few mental mistakes here or there but with their youth, athleticism, and closing speed, it should make for an exciting brand of linebacker ball.
Devondre perhaps said it best
“We are here for one reason and it is to help this team win. We have all contributed thus far and have to keep building on the chemistry. Most of us are expected to be here for a while so it’s good for us to build that chemistry and get really comfortable with each other and also get comfortable with the older guys and make them feel comfortable with us on the field with them.”
Spoon who came back home finds himself in the role of being a contributor and advisor on and off the field as the young guys are leaning on him for that veteran leadership. The Jaguars were first to score, it came on a 25-yard pass from B. Allen to S, Evans with 4:28 remaining in the first quarter. The games next two scores were by Atlanta running back T Ward one touchdown for 3 yards and another for 1 yard. M. Bryant tacked on a field goal giving the Falcons a total for the evening of 17 points before the Jaguars could get back on the score board. B. Allen connected with S. Wynn on a 5-yard touchdown pass. Then he turned around and did the same thing with N. Sterling for 2 making the score 15 – 17 in favor of the Atlanta Falcons.
After missing three weeks Terron Ward carried the ball 22 times for 62 yards. He is in competition with Brandon Wilds as the third running back position the other will probably be signed to the practice squad. Naturally, he felt good about getting back on the field. “Being out three weeks, it felt good getting in between the lines again. I feel like everyone battled hard and the O-Line opened up holes for me. Matt Simms did a great job at quarterback so it was a great time to be out there.”
Matt Sims had extended playing time. The other Matt’s, Ryan and Schaub had less than a half dozen snaps between them. Sims went 16 of 23 for 217 yards passing bringing his preseason grand total to 26 of 39 for 353 yards and 1 touchdown with a passer rating 82.5 percent. His fate rest on whether they will carry two or three quarterbacks on the active roster. The Falcons sure love the name Matt should he make the team each one of them will share that name in common, Matt I, II, and III… He appreciated the extra time. “It’s great when you’re in this type of situation you look for these opportunities to get reps, to show not only your teammates and your coaching staff but the rest of the league that you can play and play well. It was exciting.”
We live in a world of opportunity, unfortunately, there are more players than available space on a roster there are 32 NFL teams carrying 75 players come Saturday that number is reduced to 53. Some players will be cut, some will be released others will be put on waivers. The team you play with tonight may not be the one you are with tomorrow. As depressing as it sounds in reality some players will never wear another helmet.