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Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets halftime update and open thread

It happens every year, but the Atlanta Falcons have started out slow.

2018 NFL Draft
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Hello darkness my old friend.

We typically enter preseason cautiously optimistic to see the Atlanta Falcons dominating their opponent. That usually doesn’t happen, and instead we see defensive breakdowns and an anemic offense. We have been reminding you all week that preseason doesn’t matter. We see this every preseason, then the Falcons turn it on during the season.

The Falcons started without two of their biggest offensive weapons: Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman.

How did we get to 17-0 against the Jets?

Matt Ryan played one series, and his only pass went to the line of scrimmage. We quickly hopped into backups, and things surprisingly didn’t look right. The defense reminded me of a Mike Smith defense: players would randomly shine, but everything else fell apart.

Part of this is definitely due to players reporting to camp just two weeks ago. Part of this is some players still struggling.

The Good

We saw some nice plays from a couple of young players. Damontae Kazee needs to get snaps on defense. He may be the angriest tackler on the team, and I did not forget about Keanu Neal. Kazee is one bad, bad man.

Deadrin Senat and Terrell McClain may be in a tight race to start next to Grady Jarrett. Both had some impressive plays when playing with the second string defense. Lets not jump to conclusions, but the defensive tackle rotation may be better than expected.

Foye Oluokun made a few plays. We are still only at halftime, but early results are surprisingly good for Oluokun. There’s a good chance he starts in week one.

Ito Smith had a few explosive plays, and may be the best third-string back in Falcons history. I don’t think that’s saying much, but he has some talent.

The Bad

It’s preseason, but Steve Sarkisian dialed up some very, very vanilla plays. I think the fanbase as a whole has spent this offseason wondering if Sarkisian was going to take that step forward in his second year in the pros. If he has, he has not shown it yet tonight. The man has no instincts.

The new helmet rule is going to seriously, seriously suck. It’s been called a handful of times tonight, with many plays appearing pretty pedestrian. If the refs keep up these aggressive flags, 2018 is going to be very frustrating.

Isaiah Oliver got picked on a bit. He was not expected to become an instant starter, and he is sure looking every single bit of that assessment.

The Ugly

Duke Riley has somehow gotten worse since last year. He remained a liability against the Jets’ second string offense. It’s almost unbelievable that he spent most of last year outrunning the tackle, and on the first touchdown he looked slooooow. Paul Worrilow slow. 2017 Sean Weatherspoon slow.

Honestly, Riley is embarrassing. He needs to get it together or he will be looking for a new job next offseason, if not sooner.

The Second Half