The Falcons’ second preseason game of the year was a far better performance than the first, and while preseason games aren’t anything to worry about, it was fun to see the offense looking competent and often dominant. These games are never a great predictor for the regular season, though, so take it all with a grain of salt. With that said, here are some takeaways from the game.
Calvin Ridley busts out
Any concerns about Ridley were quieted on Friday evening. Whether it was his 35-yard kickoff return or his deep catch down the middle, Ridley showed why he was worthy of being taken in the first round. He was able to cause this damage without Julio Jones on the field as well. His route running and speed both jumped out, reaffirming that this kid has the tools needed to be successful at this level. It was a fun performance and a highly encouraging one.
Young guys shine
Calvin was not the only young guy to stand out. While Ito Smith struggled on kickoff returns, he was a far more decisive runner in this game and demonstrated some good elusiveness. Deadrin Senat flashed as well, showing his ability to clog the middle of the line. Eric Saubert pulled down a nice catch and demonstrated his athleticism as well. Damontae Kazee pulled down an impressive interception in his strong bid to get playing time during the regular season.
For all of the veterans on this time, there’s a very good young core that is rising up as well. It’s incredibly exciting to see many of these guys performing well already.
No injuries, thank goodness
In a week where the Patriots lost a starting offensive lineman, and the Eagles have serious concerns about QB depth, it’s a big deal to get out of a preseason game without injuries. Many NFL seasons have been completely derailed by an untimely injury in a completely worthless game. Knock on wood: let’s hope the team makes it through the next game unscathed as well.