Falcons Edge Ravens, 10-9

Does this team win ugly or does this team win ugly?

I think we've got a decent look at what this team may look like this season, with a struggling offense paired with a strong defense. I'm sure our secondary isn't good to look as good all season, and our ground game will probably get even better, but we can safely say that they've got the capacity to stay in games against most opponents. That's going to be good enough to make this season one to follow closely.

Let's roll through the highlights and lowlights, after the jump:

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Jason Snelling is playing against backups, true, but he's also running like he's being pursued by a pack of wolves. With 15 carries for 88 yards, Snelling's second straight strong performance seems likely to carry him into the season as the third running back. This was pretty much the biggest highlight of the whole game.
  • D.J. Shockley played well enough to get the third quarterback job, if the coaching staff is willing to go that way. He looked awful during his first couple series but recovered enough to complete half his passes (not great) and the game's only touchdown. In contrast, Joey Harrington completed only a pair of passes and threw an interception, albeit one that was more the fault of Adam Jennings.
  • Thomas DeCoud notched an interception off Casey Bramlet to go along with three tackles. DeCoud is going to be the starter at one of the safety spots before long, so it's good to see him making plays this early in his career. For now, I'm guessing he'll rotate in occasionally on passing downs.
  • Kindal Moorehead and Kroy Biermann each came up with a sack. For the record, that's the third straight game for Biermann. The kid is absolutely going to make the roster and may make a real impact as a pass rushing specialist. Moorehead is likely to make the roster as a backup.
  • The Falcons won again! What more do you want, anyways?

LOWLIGHTS

  • Adam Jennings had a hand in that Harrington interception, didn't catch a pass, and managed a single punt return for eight yards. If Mike Smith still wants to put him on the roster, then he's clearly coaching in an Opposite World where being terrible is the key to winning football games.
  • The passing game in general. While I like Shockley and think Harrington would be one of the best third quarterbacks in the league, I don't want either on the field for any length of time. When your numbers against backups are okay at best and awful at worst, you're asking for trouble.
  • Eric Weems made me laugh, bless his soul. He had that one nice catch and also managed to get blasted on a botched run. When you're far from certain to make the roster, I guess it helps to catch the coaching staff's attention, but this is too little too late.

FINAL

A decent victory for the Falcons that will serve to carry them into the season. After this weekend, we should be looking at the final roster and seeing what our 2008 Falcons are going to look like. With their performances, Shockley and Snelling probably have cemented spots on the team, and the battle for fourth and fifth corner is yet to be resolved. The Falcons finish up the pre-season at 2-2 and look to be solid bets to outperform their (extremely pessimistic) predicted season.

Thoughts on the final roster?

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