Atlanta deliberately hustled their starters out of the game early, and the result was a relatively uneventful game where they didn’t lose anyone important to injury. You can argue, rightfully, that the performance of the reserves wasn’t particularly encouraging. You cannot argue that it was a bad idea for the Falcons to ensure that their most vital players didn’t spend enough time on the field to get hurt.
We’ve said it time and time again over the offseason, mostly while we’re marveling at the talent on this team: Injury is the biggest thing (and perhaps the only thing) that can truly derail this team. Preseason snaps are helpful for evaluation and knocking off rust, but neither of those things particularly matter if they come alongside a starter who is going to miss multiple weeks or even months because of injury. Avoiding that at all costs is (and should be) Atlanta’s #1 priority.
With that in mind, it’s hard to view the first week of preseason as anything other than a genuine success. The Falcons will be cautious in the coming weeks to keep their starters’ snaps to a minimum and try to use these games as a way to evaluate and then build effective depth in case of injuries when it genuinely matters, but they’re not going to expose their best players to the dread specter of missed time if they can help it. I’m totally on board with that, even if it means more ugly preseason games.
So take heart in that, at the very least, and get ready for next Friday’s game against the Chiefs.