The Falcons fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-16 in their fourth, and final, preseason game to finish the 2013 preseason with the inauspicious record of 0-4. There will be no preseason trophies for the Falcons, no preseason victory parades through the streets of Atlanta. Let's have a moment of silence to reflect on the preseason glory that might have been.
The matchup against the Jaguars was a valiant battle of primarily second and third string players versus other second and third string players, many of whom are fighting for their NFL lives with final cuts looming, and there were some solid performances, as well as some less-than-awesome performances in all phases of the game.
On the good end of things, there were a couple of times that Dominique Davis' offense looked downright efficient. Chase Coffman generally looked solid across the board, minus one silly holding penalty. Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers both looked really good running the ball when the blocking was adequate, and sometimes they looked good even though the blocking wasn't. Josh Vaughn made some special teams errors, but looked absolutely outstanding out of the backfield, including a 65-yard touchdown run.
Defensively, Jonathan Massaquoi stole the show with a sack/forced fumble/touchdown play to put the Falcons on the board in the second quarter, and rookie cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford both came away with interceptions. Robert James led the team with seven solo tackles, and used his speed to his advantage on several occasions.
On the less-great end of things, there were many more times that Dominique Davis made bad decisions. Throwing across your body off of your back foot is generally not a good idea. Seventh round draft pick Sean Renfree left the game after completing three of five passing attempts for a net total of one yard because of a shoulder injury, suffered on a play where he completed a panic pass to offensive lineman Jacques McClendon for negative-ten yards.
And, there were times when the defense struggled to contain tight ends, didn't wrap up effectively, and took bad angles on running plays. Sound familiar? Sigh. On special teams, kicker Jeremy Shelley very likely cemented Matt Bryant's role with the team by missing a field goal and a PAT attempt, something that you rarely see in the NFL.
The main thing we can all take away from tonight's game, and the preseason in general, is: if the Falcons are ever in a position where their entire second team has to play an entire game against an opponent's first team players, they probably won't win. On a more positive note, the coaching staff should have seen plenty against the Jaguars to help them make the best possible roster decisions, there were some bright moments from some guys who are on the roster bubble, and the next time we all watch the Falcons take the field, they'll be in New Orleans for week one.
What did you think about Atlanta's performance against the Jaguars tonight? What players do you think locked up roster spots this evening, and who do you think sealed their fate to be cut?