Given the team's brush with injuries of late and the importance of evaluating guys lower on the roster, I had hoped the team might dial down the snaps for its starters. But no, reports Jay Adams at the Official Site, that's not the case. Instead, it seems likely the Falcons will follow tradition in the third pre-season game and give Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, John Abraham and their merry cohorts a full half or more.
It makes sense to give the starters a lot of run, because Ray Edwards is making his triumphant return to the playing field. Also, those are the guys that have to, you know, play the most in the regular season. I look forward to seeing the offense tested against one of the best defenses in the game, and the defense tested by a quality passing attack and a stud running back in Rashard Mendenhall.
This means the window of opportunity for those guys down on the depth chart is closing fast. Some of them may only get a handful of snaps against the Steelers, which means they need a big play to catch the coaching staff's attention. After this game, the first round of cuts down to 80 are in, so you can bet that every single guy listed as second-string or lower is going to be playing his ass off.
The key for the Falcons will be balancing the need to evaluate that talent with the need to get the starters some run, while looking out for injuries. Piece of cake, right?
Which starter will you have your eye on come Friday?