This is it, friends. Tonight brings the final preseason game for the Atlanta Falcons, meaning all that lies between us and the regular season is an interminable week-and-a-half and the steady chopping sounds that come from the roster cutdown process. While the team has undoubtedly made a lot of tentative decisions already with how they’ll allocate their roster spots, the game against the Jaguars gives players fighting for jobs one last chance to make their case.
Here’s the roster battles you need to watch tonight.
The most consequential battle remaining. If Dan Quinn has made a decision on this one, we haven’t seen any signs that he has, though Wes Schweitzer currently has more starts than Ben Garland under his belt.
Both of these guys will make the roster, and the loser will be a vital reserve. Considering how critical an effective offensive line is, though, and that this is the last starting job left unsettled, this is the one to watch tonight.
I don’t believe the Falcons have settled on Reggie Davis or Marvin Hall as their sixth receiver just yet, so I believe either one can make a case tonight. I will say that I fully expect one of them to win it, as Nick Williams has shown himself to be competent but not very exciting, and Anthony Dable simply doesn’t have the special teams value.
With the Falcons indicating they might keep one of the rookie defensive ends—though I have no idea how they’ll fit on the roster—it’ll be worth keeping an eye on J’Terius Jones and Chris Odom. Both have been legitimately impressive in their own ways, with Jones standing out more as a pass rusher and Odom more as a run defender, but they’ll both be jockeying for position in this last game.
This comes down to Jermaine Grace and Josh Keyes. If LaRoy Reynolds is out for any length of time, one of them is going to make this roster, with Grace holding more upside as a defender and Keyes offering more as a solid tackler and special teamer in the here and now. Again, both will have a chance to make a case.
I think C.J. Goodwin and Deji Olatoye are the odds-on favorites, and that this is a position where the Falcons are likely to explore veteran help once all the cuts roll in. If Akeem King or Jarnor Jones wants to make a case, this is truly the last opportunity to give the coaching staff pause.
Which battles are you watching?