The 2013 75-man cutdown deadline is next Tuesday. The Falcons-Titans preseason game will go a long way toward determining who is on the receiving end of that black and red axe.
On paper, this is the easiest matchup of the preseason for the Falcons. The Titans have a good, young offensive line, some nice pieces at receiver and a few promising players on defense, but this is a team a year or two away from contention. It's not the stiffest challenge on the Falcons' radar, but it's a game worth taking seriously.
Because this is preseason, we won't do the blow-by-blow matchups we love to do in the regular season, but consider this you guide to what to look out for tomorrow.
This is still shaping up to be one of the most intriguing positions. The only two guys who seem guaranteed jobs are Akeem Dent and Sean Weatherspoon. Stephen Nicholas it out with an injury, Paul Worrilow needs to keep his crazy momentum going and everyone else from Robert James to Brian Banks needs big plays to get ahead.
My best guess today is that the Falcons keep 'Spoon, Dent, Nicholas, Worrilow, James and Pat Schiller, with Joplo Bartu headed to the practice squad and Kroy Biermann taking some snaps back there. The pecking order there remains highly uncertain, and this third game is going to go a long way toward establishing it.
The Pass Rush vs. Jake Locker
Locker's got a ways to go as a passer, but he's got a big arm, he's athletic and he can move in the pocket. The Falcons couldn't muster much of a pass rush last week against the Ravens, so they'll try here against Locker, the similarly mobile Ryan Fitzpatrick and a pretty good offensive line. It'll be a nice test for this team.
Jonathan Massaquoi could use another strong showing to get him more snaps. Malliciah Goodman has shown his run-stopping ability, but he could use a strong pass rush performance as well. Jonathan Babineaux likes to eat quarterbacks. Ditto Corey Peters. Everybody else is just trying to win some regular season snap.
The First Team Offense
They're just tuning up, but they ought to wreak havoc on the Titans defense. Watch fun (hopefully) ensue as these guys get warmed up for the regular season.