The rookie class, be it drafted or undrafted, is likely to have a major role on this veteran team. That’s true now, and it’s true in the future, which is why the Falcons are so keen to evaluate the many rookies hanging out on the roster at the moment.
Training camp has been valuable to that end, and we’ve seen a lot of Chris Lindstrom, Kaleb McGary, and interesting UDFAs like Olamide Zaccheaus. The start of preseason will offer the opportunity for longer looks at all of them, but especially the reserves, as a team burned by injuries in 2018 utilizes them often.
The Falcons have what Quinn characterized as an additional advantage there, as they have another game 30 NFL teams don’t get. To virtually everyone else, that seems like a disadvantage, because it’s likely to not be a very compelling game, the starters aren’t likely to play, and the potential for injury is of course there. But Quinn sees a chance to give 25 rookies and a bunch of guys who could use the development time real, NFL game action, and from that perspective it’s tough to argue it’s a bad thing.
It’s an advantage, and when you’re presented with that opportunity, I want to take advantage of it....of course it’s a really important day for the 25 or so rookies.
Quinn also mentioned guys like Matt Gono and Kurt Benkert, who stuck around all last year and are fighting for more significant roles in 2019. That’s a good sign that they’ll get plenty of run, with Gono potentially starting at left tackle and Benkert likely getting significant run in every preseason game.
Of course, Quinn had a positive note about team unity and improvement, too.
“If we keep getting better and getting closer, those things will play a hell of a lot better together,” Quinn said.