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Falcons practice roundup: Backup QB AJ McCarron is “god awful” and more

Some good from both the offense and defense. None of those include the backup quarterback.

Miami Dolphins Training Camp

The Falcons wrapped up another practice against the Miami Dolphins in the sizzling south Florida heat on Thursday. These inter-team practices are much more notable than normal training camp with players much more competitive and happy to finally be playing against opponents and not teammates.

It also gives fans a much better look at the team as a whole. When one side of the ball struggles during training camp, who knows if that side of the ball is dominant or the other side is just struggling? Luckily, the Dolphins provide a great test for this Falcons team. Miami is superbly coached with a stout defense.

The Good

Calvin Ridley will be getting a lot of extra attention this year with Julio Jones now in Tennessee. The good news is, even though the Dolphins are sending extra attention his way, he is making some huge plays.

The Falcons have had a frustratingly bland defense for the better part of a decade, with perhaps the only exception being Mike Nolan’s first season with Atlanta. Big name players have failed to move the needle year after year. New defensive coordinator Dean Pees may buck this trend, as his heavy blitzes wreaked havoc during Week 1 of the preseason and consistently during practice against Miami.

Rookie Kyle Pitts has been a little quiet during practices, reportedly struggling to play consistently against safety Eric Rowe. He has been getting a fair number of targets, finally paying off today for a score.

I would also like to note that Russell Gage is good. He could have a huge year at WR2 if he stays healthy.

The Bad

The Falcons have been dealing with a number of injuries along the defensive line. It has not had a huge impact on the defense (see above), but Atlanta cannot afford to stumble into Week 1 of the regular season with a beat up roster.

The Ugly

Backup quarterbacks that get a lot of offseason attention are playing either very well or very poorly. AJ McCarron falls into the latter category after a poor performance in Week 1 of preseason. He has reportedly followed up that performance with some new lows.

Having covered the Falcons for about a decade, and having read Ledbetter for years prior to then, this may be his worst critique of a Falcons player. And this was before his final pass.

McCarron looks to be in serious trouble if he can’t put together a good performance this weekend.