The last preseason game is only a day away. It's time to break down what we'll be looking at.
As is typical in Week 4 of preseason, the starters are likely to get minimal playing time. The most important thing the Falcons can do right now is get their starters into the season as healthy as humanly possible while settling the rest of the depth chart by letting the reserves battle it out.
- Lamar Holmes vs. Ryan Schraeder. Let's face it, folks: Holmes is the starting right tackle. The Falcons haven't brought in a credible competitor for the gig, he's gotten the majority of the first team snaps and he hasn't been nearly as bad as some believe he's been.
Still, this is a competition in name, and Schraeder is intriguing enough as a swing tackle for this year that he's going to get his snaps against the Jaguars. The Falcons may have found a diamond here, and even if Holmes is more or less locked in at right tackle, Schraeder may have a case down the line.
- Joplo Bartu, Paul Worrilow and Brian Banks. It's fair to say that Banks is probably gunning for a practice squad spot at best, one I think we all hopes he gets. Worrilow and Bartu, meanwhile, are both pushing hard for roster spots and trying to carve out significant roles for a team that could sorely use young, athletic depth. If they excel again against the Jaguars, it can only help their cases.
- Malliciah Goodman. It's clear by now that Kroy Biermann should be playing more linebacker, because he looks explosive and dangerous at the position in a way he only did for stretches at defensive end. Someone needs to step up opposite Osi Umenyiora, and I'm still hoping Goodman can seize the majority of snaps because of his freakish athleticism. He's shown he can stop the run already, but it'd be nice to see him getting better penetration into the backfield.
- Darius Johnson. The Falcons will want to take a hard look at DJ on special teams to see if he can excel there, because he's shown enough as a receiver to potentially stick around as the fifth option.
- Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Trufant probably won't get a lot of snaps, if he gets any, but it'd be nice to give him a little bit of a final tune-up before the season. Alford will look to learn from a disastrous Week 3 performance and show he can iron out some of his struggles on his quest for playing time in 2013.
I polled some of you on Twitter to see what you'll be watching. Here's a smattering of responses:
@TheFalcoholic QB protection and redzone completions— Janet Berridge (@JRBerridge) August 28, 2013
@TheFalcoholic Special Teams, make a difference, you're on the final roster. It's the difference of keeping extra LB's, WR's, RB's or DB's.— Paul (@GaVaHokie) August 28, 2013
@TheFalcoholic Joplo Bartu and Paul Warrilow— Rusty Moore (@rusmo18) August 28, 2013
@TheFalcoholic All eyes on Brian Banks - love the story & hope he has what it takes to make the final 53!— XFINITY Sports (@XFINITYSports) August 28, 2013
What will you be watching?