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3 essential things to know for the first Falcons preseason game

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Regardless of who the Falcons are playing, these truths hold every year.

NFL: Preseason-Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As we mentioned, we’re one week away from the Falcons challenging the Dolphins for preseason supremacy*, and that means we should be preparing ourselves for watching that game. We have a guide here for every first preseason game, regardless of opponent, and a reminder that you’ll be enjoying one quite soon.

A short stint for the starters

You’ll get a couple of drives, maybe a full quarter out of these guys, and then most of them are probably going to be out of the game. The exceptions might be young players like Duke Riley and Damontae Kazee who are in competitions and would benefit from more snaps, but Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and company will be off the field extremely early.

A proving ground for young players

With the starters out, the chances are many for the rookie undrafted free agents and the like. That means a lot at positions like guard, tackle, safety, and linebacker where depth is a bit of a question mark and the future is certainly not settled. It’s our first real chance to look at Andreas Knappe, Will Freeman, and the other competitors at swing tackle, a particularly vital battle.

You shouldn’t worry about the outcome

The Falcons went 2-2 in last year’s preseason, mustering just 68 points in four games....and then went on their second Super Bowl run in franchise history. Because teams aren’t introducing every wrinkle in their offensive and defensive game planning, because the starters rarely play more than half the game, and because other teams are playing so many backups, it’s impossible to really get a bead on how good a football team is. Even if the Falcons get blown off the field in preseason or absolutely dominate, save your worries, angst, and/or excitement for Week 1 against the Bears.

*Let’s please not pretend preseason supremacy is a real thing, or that preseason records matter. Please and thank you.