The Falcons headed to New Jersey to practice against the Jets. These joint practices give us a chance to see how this team matches up against others. It is a bit different than the players practicing against themselves — does a big gain mean the offense is good or the defense is bad? We don’t really know.
For the Jets, they are down to Joe Flacco at quarterback but still have a fair amount of talent on defense. Let’s see what takeaways we have about New York other than the bagels. Is it really the water that makes the bagels good? Does New York have good water? None of this adds up to me.
First up, Atlanta is short a few players. Drake London will hopefully return for next week’s preseason game. The rookie wide receiver should immediately fill in as the top wide receiver, meaning the team needs London to have as short of a rookie learning curve as possible. That curve may be set back a few weeks if he can’t practice or play.
Haven’t seen Drake London or Marlon Davidson at practice (which was expected). Some of the players who’ve been working back after missing the Detroit game are here practicing at 100%: Isaiah Oliver, Jaylinn Hawkins, Troy Andersen, etc.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) August 19, 2022
Marlon Davidson is in a very bad spot. He was drafted by the old staff and hasn’t found a spot in the new defense. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy long enough to make an impact.
Could the offensive line be good? Arthur Smith is, at heart, an offensive line-focused coach. At some point, you hope you can start to see some improvement (other than from Jalen Mayfield — we know what we’ve got there).
First set of one on ones over. I thought the #Falcons OLine held up and won most of their battles vs. #Jets. Lindstrom v. Rankins was only obvious loss. Will post the breakdown after practice on https://t.co/UtVPyzSpgT. pic.twitter.com/ObHzSfSXKy— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) August 19, 2022
Is Sheldon Rankins back? Odd to see Chris Lindstrom on the wrong side of nearly any matchup as he has been the team’s best offensive lineman.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Fights will remain one of the most fun offseason activities. My team is angry and will beat up your team! However, it doesn’t seem like more fights translates into more wins. Kaleb McGary was in on a fight but it doesn’t mean he can suddenly block.
We’re still doing Feleipe Franks at QB. Probably smart to have depth at backup considering Marcus Mariota’s injury history. The success of Franks taking snaps if Desmond Ridder also goes down is a different question.
Mariota may not make it 17 games but he has still got some speed .
Marcus showin off the wheeeeeels today in the falcons-jets joint practice pic.twitter.com/6KEwd9U4Le— DjShockley (@DjShockley3) August 19, 2022
This doesn’t seem like a great practice for the Falcons, but it is good to remember players are still figuring it out. For instance, I don’t think Sauce Gardner will get beat like this by fringe players come regular season.
This was Bernhardt beating Sauce pic.twitter.com/TwnyuIdqHO— Miles Garrett (@MilesGarrettTV) August 19, 2022
With that said, the takeaways from this practice are the Falcons defense is not good. For example, Breece Hall is a running back.
Yuck. The Falcons played the Chiefs ahead of Patrick Mahomes’ first season starting. The Falcons defense gave up a similarly-long pass from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill, which at the time made sense. Mahomes had an arm and Hill had some of the best wheels in the league. Joe Flacco to Hall is not the same scenario. That shouldn’t happen.
Corner DeAundre Alford was a CFL standout signed by the Falcons back in January. He may be an underrated signing based on his play so far.
Dee Alford getting some first team reps at nickel in that last 11-on-11 period. Really interesting to watch this almost meteoric rise of Alford up the 53-man.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) August 19, 2022
The sum up: the Falcons still have plenty to work on. We may need patience to understand what this team has to offer heading into 2022, but with this level of struggle against the Jets is not an encouraging sign.