When I wrote last week that the Falcons were finally moving to play the young guys, you could have been forgiven for some healthy skepticism. They finally delivered, though.
Robert Alford played all 71 snaps at LCB as Samuel benched. Zeke Motta played 55 snaps (75%) at safety after Thomas DeCoud (head) left game.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) December 9, 2013
Rookie Ryan Schraeder played 42 of 59 offensive snaps (71 %) at tackle. Starter Jeremy Trueblood played 17 snaps.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) December 9, 2013
This is what we had been waiting for. Alford getting a ton of run bolsters my belief that he'll be the starter next year, with Asante Samuel potentially heading out of town. DeCoud was playing fine before his injury—and we hope he's doing well—while Motta played just a tick below average once he came in, particularly in coverage. It was impressive enough for a seventh-round rookie, though.
The Falcons are committed to finding out what they have, which is why Schraeder got most of the snaps at right tackle. He was poor in pass protection, but no worse than Jeremy Trueblood is most weeks, and he's much younger and more promising over the long haul. There's no harm in getting him his snaps.
Where the young guys have been forced into the lineup, they're making an impact. Jonathan Massaquoi and Paul Worrilow each grabbed 1.5 sacks yesterday. Malliciah Goodman had the team's best grade in run-stopping, and was a major factor in limiting Eddie Lacy on the ground yesterday. Drew Davis made the most of his limited opportunities, scoring a nice touchdown.
I won't go say far as to say the future's bright. There is too much work to be done on this roster before I'd feel confident in that. Yet it's clear that the Falcons have some intriguing young players on this roster, and at minimum guys like Schraeder, Goodman and Davis/Darius Johnson are quality depth for a team that hasn't had that in a little while.
Your thoughts on the young guys?