In their first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, the Falcons kept their starters out on the field for about one quarter of play. You can expect to see the same strategy in their upcoming matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.
"We are thinking that our first group would go longer than they did in the first game. There will be a couple of guys who will be out before that," said Mike Smith on his plans for Thursday. Given the amount of injuries we saw in the opener, though, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the clear cut first-string guys were taken out early.
The offensive line, a key area for concern this offseason, might stay in longer than anyone other group. "We would like to keep our offensive line in there together for the first 25 or 30 snaps," said Smith. Atlanta ran 22 offensive plays in the first quarter last week, so this probably means we'll see the O-line starters hanging in until the second, which is a plus to be honest.
As much as we all want to see Matt Ryan lighting things up with Julio Jones, I think it's best the top players on the roster only see a series or two.
Harry Douglas will be back to play in his first game of the year, so it would be beneficial for him to get things going early. Kerry Meier didn't see a single target this past Thursday as the No. 3 receiver. That shouldn't be the plan with HD.
The first-string defense was also on the field for a quarter of the ballgame. Nolan's squad locked down Baltimore, so let's that success continues on. Who will you be keeping an eye on among the starters?