The Falcons held an intrasquad scrimmage Friday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, giving players and coaches a chance to knock off some rust and see how they’d fare under game conditions. As you can see from some video we included below, they definitely weren’t tackling at full speed or anything, but in a preseason devoid of preseason games, we’ll take what we can get.
The team really emphasized making today’s scrimmage the functional equivalent of a game. They warmed up like they normally would before a game. They did everything they’d normally do on game day to prepare. Dan Quinn went around calling it a “mock game” and they pumped in crowd noise. Normal halftime routine. Heck, even the drum line got involved, playing throughout the scrimmage. It was as close as the Falcons will get to a real game before they take on the Seahawks in Week 1 on September 13th.
The Mothership’s William McFadden wrote up his impressions. His piece is definitely worth a read, if you have a moment. But here’s a juicy little nugget:
What knee problems? In his first action at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as a member of the Falcons, Gurley showed off his speed, agility and vision to break off several nice runs. He scored the second touchdown of the afternoon for the starting offense, taking a goal-line carry off the right end and diving between two would-be tacklers to make it to the end zone.
The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter also wrote a piece summarizing what he saw. According to his piece, rookie punter Sterling Hofrichter punted 4 times today, averaging 4.08 seconds of hang time, which isn’t great. Because this was just a glorified practice, that’s probably not worth reading into too much, but Hofrichter’s development going forward is something we’ll all keep a close eye on.
ESPN’s Vaughn McClure summarized today’s “mock game” with this tweet:
Today’s mock game:— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 28, 2020
Ridley over-the-shoulder, 34-yd TD catch on Terrell
Gurley made most of 7 touches, including 2-yard TD
Sheffield beat a couple times in coverage
Stocker 2 catches
Julio chillin for all the scrimmage
❓Rook Matt Hennessy was at LG but left field
Don’t want to neglect giving Matt Schaub credit for some nice play action throws today, especially on what would have been 74-yard hook to Juwan Green with Wreh-Wilson in coverage. Wreh-Wilson picked Benkert later. ... Solid rushes by Takk, Senat throughout game too.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 28, 2020
Both McFadden and McClure had good things to say about Schaub. His primary competition for QB2, Kurt Benkert, threw 2 picks during the second half. Meanwhile, Schaub threw a 74 touchdown pass to rookie Juwan Green. It’s probably not fair to call that camp battle in Schaub’s favor yet, but I’d have to imagine the team is inching closer to making that decision, especially after today’s performances.
The Mothership put out this video, showcasing highlights from today’s “mock game.”
Home sweet home.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 28, 2020
HIGHLIGHTS from today's scrimmage pic.twitter.com/ULdpoxan9X
In terms of takeaways, it’s good to hear that the first team offense is already clicking. A healthy Todd Gurley will go a long way. It does sound like Schaub essentially locked down the QB2 job today as well.
Your thoughts, Falcoholics?