In case you missed it, the Falcoholinks is your standard link roundup to cover all the important Atlanta Falcons news. It will help us catch a few stories that we didn’t write up on the site, and double back on things you might have missed.
Starters won’t play in week 4
The team is expected to rest all of their starters against the Miami Dolphins. Bold move considering most of the starters took it pretty easy against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here’s what Falcoholic night manager had to say about the decision.
This is a smart move by Quinn. The Falcons have been able to stay healthy since training camp kicked off in late July. There’s simply no need to change up their approach now. If you’re hoping to see the Falcons dominate the Dolphins on Thursday night as some sort of indicator, then you’d better not hold your breath.
I have to agree. The preseason is really just to knock off the rust and get timing down for the starters, while everyone else fights for a roster spot. The starters are set, so why risk injury when they can be watching film on the Philadelphia Eagles?
Carson Wentz not ready for Falcons?
Speaking of Eagles and injuries, Carson Wentz is not looking likely for week one.
Peter King from NBC Sports believes Carson Wentz is “doubtful” to start week one. He also mentioned it’s likely Wentz doesn’t come back until Week 3. The Eagles first two games are vs. Falcons & @ Bucs, respectively.— Brendan Walker (@BWalkerNFL) August 27, 2018
Nick Foles has predictably returned to being Nick Foles this preseason, so this could be big news if touchdown machine Wentz doesn’t suit up. The Falcons will certainly be preparing for either quarterback, but I wouldn’t bet on the Eagles trotting out Wentz if he’s not ready.
Seriously, you can win the NFC East this year with like 8 wins. That division is so bad they might as well be in the AFC. We will cover this when we get closer to game time, as Doug Pederson will probably try to keep the starter quiet until game day.
Alshon Jeffery improving?
In case you were wondering why Alshon Jeffery was available so deep in your fantasy draft, it’s because he is injured. I’m guessing a shoulder injury. Maybe his ankle. There’s no real way to know. Doug Pederson said he’s improving, but it sounds unlikely he will be ready to step into the starting lineup against the Falcons.
“Well, first of all, he’s doing well in this rehab,” Pederson said in comments distributed by the team. “He’s working every day. He’s progressed up to about 75 throws a day and really doing a nice job with that. We’re just going to continue to monitor him and we’ll see where he is at next week and make a decision. But right now, he’s progressing well; we just got to see his day by day.”
I don’t expect him there, but Pederson wants us to think it is at least possible.
Update: Jeffery is not expected to play in the first two weeks of the season.
Brandon Fusco to start
The Falcons made it official: Brandon Fusco won the starting right guard spot over Wes Schweitzer.
While Quinn acknowledged that incumbent starter Wes Schweitzer has been “significantly improved from last season”, the decision was made to go with the veteran Fusco mainly due to his performance from a “protection standpoint”—which, presumably, means he’s been a better option in pass protection.
The competition was closer than we wanted, which was worrisome as Schweitzer showed WAY too much inconsistency. He could be really good, but I’m not willing to bet the 2018 season on it. Fusco made some great plays during preseason, too. I definitely consider this a good upgrade to the offensive line and hopefully the passing game.
Andy Levitre back, Deion Jones still out
We don’t expect any injuries to last into week one, but we are watching practice.
Andy Levitre back practicing today. Deion Jones (strain) and Marvin Hall (undisclosed) still rehabbing on side field pic.twitter.com/BlLT8ytqW7— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 28, 2018
Andy Levtire was out earlier this week, but good news is he was barely out. Deion Jones has missed two preseason games for the very unspecific “strain” injury. He should be back and still has plenty of time, but it’s notable that he is still not practicing.
Also concerning is Duke Riley’s biggest competition missing practice. It may mean Riley wins the starting spot just thanks to staying healthy.
Don’t see Foye Oluokun out there. He missed Monday’s practice too.— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) August 28, 2018
Cuts are coming
The Falcons will cut down the roster dramatically after the Dolphins game. In fact, cuts are due Saturday at 4pm. These usually roll in, as anyone who isn’t Homer Simpson can’t cut 37 players at one time.
Here’s our latest 53 man roster projection and practice squad! The projected practice squad has big names like Ryan Neal, Kurt Benkert, Malik Williams, and Reggie Davis.
All the starting jobs seem to be locked up, except perhaps for FB—where Ortiz and Fowler will likely continue their battle against the Dolphins. It’s still somewhat unclear what the Falcons will do with their final roster spot on defense—I could easily see it going to Celestin or Zimmer, depending on how the Falcons feel about both positions.