Atlanta’s got a bum deal as far as regular season games go, as they have just 7 home games against 10 road games when you include this year’s tilt in London. In preseason, though, they only have to travel once, which totally makes up for it.
This is that week of travel, and it’s probably the most intriguing week of preseason overall. Tennessee had the story lines with Arthur Smith and Julio Jones, but MIami’s an ascending, young team with a defensive-minded head coach and should prove an excellent testing ground for Atlanta’s reserves and roster hopefuls. The Falcons are also taking part in joint practices with the Dolphins this week, which will give us a unique look at how players who have been excelling fare against familiar faces in Flowery Branch.
What makes this week even more unique is that the Dolphins and Falcons will also square off in the regular season, meaning they’ll have about as much exposure to one another this year as teams in the AFC East and NFC South ever get.
Here’s what we’ll be watching for this week, at a very high level:
- How do players like A.J. Terrell, Olamide Zaccheaus, Kyle Pitts and others who have been excelling in training camp practices do when they’re practicing against an unfamiliar opponent? This is particularly of interest for standouts like Terrell who have been lights out and veterans like Matt Ryan who aren’t touching the field in preseason games.
- With one week of preseason game action in the books, how will practice reps and preseason snaps be divvied up this week, and will it look different from what we’ve seen to this point? This is a particularly big question for the likes of Kaleb McGary and Dante Fowler, who are being eased back in but are expected to be starters in 2021.
- How does Miami look this year? Obviously there’s only so much we can glean from these practices and this preseason game, but given that these two teams square off on October 24, it’s a question worth considering. I’m particularly interested to see how Miami’s secondary looks and how Tua Tagovailoa fares against a Falcons defense that I have high hopes (but not high expectations) for.
- Will there be any training camp fights? This is not an important question, really, but it seems like tensions often run high in joint practices.
Let us know what you’re hoping to see from these joint practices and Saturday’s 7 p.m. EST game, and gear up for an interesting week.