Okay, the entire Atlanta Falcons team played last night. You could still be forgiven for focusing on one Dominique Davis.
Vying for a roster spot after the Falcons punted Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson to the curb, Davis put on a bit of a show. He had one of the most excruciating interceptions you'll see, but he recovered to toss a 49 yard touchdown pass. After an intriguing pre-season, he's almost certainly locked in to a roster spot.
The rest of the team was certainly a mixed bag. They allowed a scoring drive led by Chad Henne, but also picked Henne. They performed well on offense, but only a small handful of players did anything remotely dynamic. The run defense was an unmitigated disaster. And so on.
The ultimate upshot of this game may be that the Falcons' depth, when given a chance to really seize the day, by and large did not do so. That's a worrying sign if the Falcons hit injuries, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not the end of the world. It just means that cuts got a little easier.
Don't forget that cuts are coming later today. Hit the jump with me and we'll break it down.
- The first interception was not awesome, but there's no escaping the fact that Dominique Davis has the most upside of any backup the Falcons have had since pre-injury D.J. Shockley. He throws with poise and finds the open man over and over again, which is more than enough for me to declare that he'll make the final roster. He should be Ryan's primary backup by 2013, especially if he doesn't have to deal with a receivers corps plagued by dropsy.
- Jacquizz Rodgers is looking much better as a runner this pre-season than he did in 2012. Last night, he went for 24 yards and a touchdown on only five carries. He'll be a valuable piece on offense this season.
- Making a last-ditch lunge for a roster spot, Dmitri Nance picked up 25 yards on just four carries. Competition level and all that, but it was a nice game for the Rushin' Russian.
- I've said since the beginning of the pre-season that someone would have to separate themselves from the pack in order to win the fifth receiver job. The closest player to getting there was Tim Toone, who flashed special teams value and caught a touchdown in the third pre-season game.
Now it may just be Kevin Cone, the early favorite who disappeared and got injured through the previous three games. In this one, he went off for two catches, 64 yards and a beautiful touchdown grab. I'm not saying he's a lock for a spot, but the staff was probably rooting for him all along. Cone did drop a pass, though, and that remains an outstanding issue.
- Antone Smith made up for a lackluster day on the ground by catching two passes for 36 yards. If the Falcons carry four backs, he's the fourth.
- Lamar Holmes is developing fairly well. He did commit a penalty and allow one sack, so it wasn't his coming out party or anything, but he looks solid. The Falcons need him to develop fairly quickly.
- What can you say about Matt Bosher? The dude seems to have figured out whatever mental and physical problems dogged him in the first half of 2011, and he looks like a human cannon at punter. He may be the most valuable special teams weapon this season, and the Falcons have Matt Bryant.
- Akeem Dent had eight total tackles. We know he can do that, at minimum.
- I loved what I saw from Jonathan Massaquoi last night. He needs some work, naturally, but he's got a great motor and has the ability to push into the backfield. He'll be a significant part of the rotation by 2013.
- Dominique Franks has had a rough off-season, and he was picked on again last night. At least he got a pick, though, which may help stave off the rostercutioner's axe. Particularly if he has, as I've heard, sewn up and embroidered the punt returner role.
- I thought Peyton Thompson looked very good in coverage and valuable on special teams last night, validating my crazy decision to list him among the final 53. Then he got hurt. If healthy, he should at least be a practice squad candidate.
- Pat Schiller and Charles Mitchell both had a few tackles and looked pretty good out there. Mitchell will probably make the final roster, but I'll readily acknowledge that Schiller is more likely to make the practice squad. Mitchell is especially intriguing given the Falcons' weak safety depth, but he also had a very rookie-esque defensive lapse on one of the Jaguars' scoring drives late in the game, which allowed the Jags' fifth-string running back to score. Work in progress.
- Every Falcons fan who watched this game, which aside from a few bright moments was a complete snoozefest. I love the dedication.
- Given how critical it was that some of the fringe guys on this roster perform well to make the final roster, I was really disappointed with how few of them actually stepped up. LaMark Brown basically threw Davis's second interception at a defender, Drew Davis did nothing, Tim Toone did little and Mike Johnson struggled. It's going to make the cuts a wee bit easier for the coaching staff, I'd wager.
- Seriously, the drops.
- I know it's the backup defense, but the Jaguars ran all over the Falcons last night, to the tune of well over 150 yards. The run defense is perhaps my greatest concern with Corey Peters out and Curtis Lofton gone, so we have to hope they show better in the regular season. My gut says they will, but the jury's still out.
- The offensive line depth looks pretty grim, aside from Holmes and maybe an improving Konz. I really hope the starting unit can stay healthy...and that's saying something, considering the starting unit features Sam Baker.
- The depth is generally worrying to me. All pre-season long, the backups on both sides of the ball struggled to get the job done, with a couple of notable exceptions. If the Falcons suffer any significant injury issues in 2012, it could hamstring the Falcons in a big way. Let's hope that doesn't happen.
Game MVP: Don't make me pick one.
Game Theme Song: This, because my ambivalence about what I saw tonight is pretty overwhelming.
One Thing To Take Away: The depth isn't great, but at least know the starters are.
Final Word: Meh.