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Falcons vs. Jaguars recap: Leaving the preseason behind and saying good riddance

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It’s over!

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

That was just as horrendous as you’d imagine it would be. The fourth preseason game saw sacks, fumbles, and plenty of penalties, and very few moments of quality football. That’s what you expect when your favorite football team essentially sits every starter for a pitched battle against another team’s backups, though.

Predictably, the game quickly devolved into a quagmire of poor play, and the Falcons aren’t going to have any qualms about trimming 25 or so guys based on that last preseason game. The Falcons lost 13-7, but they also never looked like they were even in the game, despite three interceptions and a real, live touchdown by the deep backups.

As always, though, none of it mattered. The Falcons made it to the season with the only significant injury landing on LaRoy Reynolds, a valuable linebacker and special teamer who is not a starter. Given the way the preseason unfolded for many teams around the NFL, that can’t be taken for granted, and it won’t be that long until we get to see them open up the season against the Chicago Bears. I’m psyched to leave the summer behind us.

Here’s our full recap, which is a little slim because I was losing my will to live in the fourth quarter.

The Good

  • Kelvin Taylor ran the ball well. He’s got an ever so slim chance of making the practice squad, particularly if Brian Hill gets shelved for the year, so you can’t just dismiss the performance out of hand. Everyone has struggled to run behind this backup offensive line.
  • Marvin Hall caught three balls for 82 yards, Deante Burton had his best night of the preseason with 3 catches for 49 yards, and Darion Griswold pulled in a 51 yard reception. Only Hall has a legitimate chance of making the roster, in my opinion, but those are still good plays to put on tape for players looking for a shot.
  • Wes Schweitzer looked very good last night, I thought, and now we’ll finally see if he gets the starting right guard spot. He didn’t do anything all preseason long to make me think he didn’t deserve it, even though Ben Garland kept pace.
  • Jermaine Grace has done everything he needs to do to make the Falcons, so now we just have to wait. He looked athletic and capable, and he had a terrific interception last night. He’s got to at least stick on the practice squad, and he may have shown too much to make it through waivers.
  • Chris Odom and J’Terius Jones both looked good last night, and the team might elect to keep both on the practice squad. Odom in particular has been impressive as hell the last two weeks, showing more than I anticipated as a pass rusher alongside his considerable run-stopping prowess.
  • The Falcons picked off three passes just in the first half, all of them off hapless Jaguars third-stringer Brandon Allen, who otherwise picked them apart. Jermaine Grace and Sharrod Neasman, who each had one, are probably making the team.

The Ugly

  • Oh my god, the penalties.
  • The reserve offensive line got destroyed all preseason long, and while I once thought the team would choose a young tackle to serve as their swing option, it’s almost certainly going to be Austin Pasztor or a young veteran now. I think DJ Tialavea will make the practice squad and Sean Harlow will make the roster, but the Falcons are likely to go dumpster diving even for practice squad spots after teams have made their cuts.
  • The less we say about the offense, the healthier our collective psyches will be. Suffice to say the Falcons would be in very big trouble if they suddenly lost 9 or 11 starters.
  • Akeem King was the rare seventh round pick I had some hopes for, but between injury and ineffectiveness, he’s probably sealed his fate with the Falcons. There’s a chance they’ll elect to keep him on the practice squad when all is said and done, but after watching him get roasted on a 43 yard touchdown pass, the Falcons will probably pass too.

The Wrapup

WE’RE DONE.

Roster cuts coming today or tomorrow, the Bears game (check out Windy City Gridiron) in like ten days, and a rich, full season of Falcons football stretching out in front of us. Let’s leave the preseason behind and get to it.