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What to look for as the Falcons ramp up for the first preseason game

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The Falcons are going to figure out their pecking order ahead of the game, and with good reason.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons-Training Camp Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Few things are as vanilla as a team’s preseason gameplan, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a plan. With the Falcons kicking off another week of training camp practices tomorrow and ten days to go until the first preseason game, it’s worth wondering how they’ll start planning for the Washington Redskins.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here’s our best guesses:

  • Determining who will start. This sounds like a no-brainer, but you have to consider that most of the time the starters only get a quarter or two of run, especially early in preseason, before they give way to reserves. When you have a lot of young players that deserve extended looks, as the Falcons do this year, you either need to keep them in the game when the Matt Ryans and Brooks Reedses leave, or wait to get them on the field against fellow backups, which has its drawbacks.
  • Who is going to get run at different positions. This is a big one when you’re trying to determine whether, say, Paul Worrilow will play the weakside or Reed will play LEO, especially in the limited snaps available to you.
  • A very rough pecking order. You’ve got the starters figured out, but then you’ve got to determine backups, third-stringers, and even fourth-stringers to go against Washington’s reserves. If you’re looking to see how an undrafted rookie fares against better competition, you won’t want to insert him in the fourth quarter, for example.

We’ll be previewing Washington in earnest starting Thursday, when we’re a week out from the game, so look for that. In the meantime, though,