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Falcons snap counts and notes for Week 2 against the Eagles

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The Falcons won, by and large, by leaning on their best players. What a novel idea.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

There are few surprises in the snap counts, but that doedsn’t mean you won’t learn anything from them. Let’s dive in.

Offense

Matt Ryan: 66

Jake Matthews: 66

James Carpenter: 66

Alex Mack: 66

Jamon Brown: 66

Mohamed Sanu: 55

Julio Jones: 54

Austin Hooper: 50

Calvin Ridley: 42

Devonta Freeman: 41

Kaleb McGary: 37

Luke Stocker: 30

Ty Sambrailo: 29

Ito Smith: 25

Justin Hardy: 11

Keith Smith: 11

Russell Gage: 9

Jaeden Graham: 2


We have to see what Kaleb McGary’s long-term status looks like, but the offensive line was largely impressive last night against a very good defensive front. I was particularly pleased to see James Carpenter hold his own for the second straight week and to see Jamon Brown step right in and play well. Quality guard play is such a difference maker for this football team.

It wasn’t always pretty for this offense, but Julio Jones played a ton and soaked up a lot of attention, which did open things up for...well, primarily Calvin Ridley. The Falcons continue to be a bit of a two man show in the passing game, with Austin Hooper looking like the obvious third wheel to this point and Mohamed Sanu and Devonta Freeman picking up the scraps. When you have two of the more talented receivers in football, as the Falcons do, I’m generally in favor of just throwing it to them all day. Hopefully Ryan can do so without getting picked going forward.

Going forward, I’d expect Russell Gage and Justin Hardy to get a few more snaps—Gage in particular because his speed is helpful—and for Jaeden Graham to start carving out a larger role with Luke Stocker off to a pretty mediocre start to the year. Under Dirk Koetter it’s pretty obvious the Falcons are going to try to ride their best players to victory without mucking around with giving their key reserves a ton of snaps, and while the results have been pretty mixed to this point, that’s going to pay off sooner or later.

Defense

Isaiah Oliver: 81

Ricardo Allen: 78

Keanu Neal: 78

Deion Jones: 75

Desmond Trufant: 72

Damontae Kazee: 69

De’Vondre Campbell: 69

Grady Jarrett: 68

Takk McKinley: 56

Vic Beasley: 55

Jack Crawford: 40

Allen Bailey: 36

Tyeler Davison: 35

Adrian Clayborn: 35

Foye Oluokun: 19

Kendall Sheffield: 9

Blidi Wreh-Wilson: 9

John Cominsky: 7


The coaching staff’s faith in Oliver showed last night, as they left him in for every single defensive snap and he rewarded them with a pretty stellar evening. If he and Trufant are going to be this good going forward—and Kazee is healthy and doing hte caliber of work we know he’s capable of—this secondary is in very good hands.

Seeing Allen and Neal soaking up the snaps in their second game back after major injuries was also encouraging. Neal’s physicality is very much there and Allen hasn’t looked even a little bit rusty, getting guys in the right position to make plays and saving a touchdown in impressive fashion against the Eagles. Again, this is a group that Dan Quinn is going to lean on very heavily all throughout the year, and injury issues for Philadelphia aside, they did impressive work.

The front seven also fared well in this one, and the Falcons have settled into a comfortable rotation. I would like to see Deadrin Senat active and playing at some point, but the reality is that the Falcons are playing Grady Jarrett a ton, and Jack Crawford and Tyeler Davison are an incredibly capable duo, with Crawford showing well on passing downs and Davison making his presence known against the run.

The Falcons are a long way from showing us true greatness on this side of the ball, but the ugliness of the Vikings game masked the fact that many players are playing quite well through two games, and Dan Quinn’s gameplan against the Eagles was at least solid. They’ve got a plan here, and I’d like to see how that plan holds up against the Colts, Texans, and Cardinals in the weeks ahead.

Special Teams

Jaeden Graham: 20

Duke Riley: 19

Sharrod Neasman: 19

Kemal Ishmael: 19

Jermaine Grace: 17

Kendall Sheffield: 15

Foye Oluokun: 13

Blidi Wreh-Wilson: 13

Russell Gage: 13

Luke Stocker: 13

Matt Bryant: 10


Two big notes here, really.

The first is that Jaeden Graham has taken to special teams water like a special teams fish, and it’s actually a big deal to me that he led the team in snaps there. With his contributions on teams he’ll always have a gameday role, and if Luke Stocker continues to falter, the Falcons can certainly get him involved on offense as well. The special teams role alone should guarantee him a spot on the active roster all year long.

The second is that Matt Bryant had a wild one. He wound up handling kickoffs for the first time in over a decade, and held his own doing so despite not exactly booming them out of the back of the end zone. He also kicked two field goals, drilling one and badly missing the second, which was a little ominous but not particularly worrisome given that it was from 50 yards out.