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Falcons snap counts from a preseason win over the Dolphins

Making sense of how the coaching staff divvied things up on a day when

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Snap counts in preseason can be tricky to parse, particularly when a ton of players sit out the game. With starters and some projected reserves not receiving any time, it’s easy to assume all of them are set to make the roster and everyone who played is fighting hard just to make it.

That wouldn’t seem to jibe with some of the players who actually dominated playing time, as we’ll chronicle below, because they have been or are expected to be major contributors in 2023. In those cases, we’re left to figure out what we can and wait for the second preseason game and see if they continue to play a lot or swap out with options who sat this week. A classic example of that would be Parker Hesse playing a lot on Friday night while John FitzPatrick and MyCole Pruitt sat; we might need more than one game to figure out if that was a coaching whim or a sign that Hesse is actively fighting for his 2023 roster spot.

Let’s get into the snap counts and glean what we may.


QB Logan Woodside: 54 (100%)

Josh Miles: 40

Ryan Neuzil: 40

Parker Hesse: 40

Tucker Fisk: 36

Carlos Washington: 33

Tyler Vrabel: 30

Jovaughn Gwyn: 30

Kyle Hinton: 24

Penny Hart: 22

Godwin Igwebuike: 21

Mathew Sexton: 19

Josh Ali: 18

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: 16

Slade Bolden: 15

Michal Menet: 14

Barry Wesley: 14

Keilahn Harris: 12

Xavier Malone: 12

Clint Ratkovich: 10

Scotty Miller: 9

Frank Darby: 6

In preseason, you’re going to be interested in who stands out and who the team wants the longest look at. Observations abound in both regards on offense.

First of all, Neuzil and Miles getting so much run tells you the team was particularly keen to see how they’d fare. Miles had some lapses in pass protection that could hurt him, but I’d still consider him a strong bet to win the swing tackle role if he can rebound and continue to show well as run blocker. Neuzil was, as he is every preseason, pretty terrific. The only question is whether there’s a spot available to him.

Hesse getting so many snaps, on the other hand, would not seem to bode as well for him. The Falcons might just flip things over and park Hesse next week in favor of John FitzPatrick and MyCole Pruitt, and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t a serious contender for a roster spot after being a vital blocker for Atlanta in each of the past two seasons. I have to imagine this was just the way the week shook out, given that Atlanta not only sat starters but also a healthy slice of their reserves. Week 2 will help tell the tale for Hesse.

After Godwin Igwebuike was so impressive as a runner and chipped in as a returner, Washington’s snap counts still help us to put his day in the proper context. The only back who was used as a pass catching option out of the backfield, Washington also dominated snaps at running back and was asked to do plenty of work in pass protection. If Atlanta’s happy with that work, he’s still in a strong position as the battle between him and Igwebuike heats up.

Malone, meanwhile, is a story of making the most of limited opportunities. Several receivers saw more playing time than him on Friday night, but none truly stood out in the way Malone did, as he had a pair of big-time catches on just 12 snaps. With not much in the way of clarity over who is in line to grab what’s likely one final roster spot—and with Frank Darby unfortunately dealing with an injury—Malone can really put himself in a strong position with quality special teams work and a good day as a receiver against the Bengals.


DeMarcco Hellams: 61

Breon Borders: 56

Micah Abernathy: 34

Darren Hall: 33

Nate Landman: 33

Lukas Denis: 33

Mike Jones Jr.: 33

Tre Flowers: 33

Joe Gaziano: 30

Adetokunbo Ogundeji: 30

Albert Huggins: 28

DeAngelo Malone: 26

Arnold Ebiketie: 25

Tae Davis: 25

Mykal Walker: 24

Zach Harrison: 23

Kemoko Turay: 23

Natrone Brooks: 20

Carlos Davis: 20

LaCale London: 19

Clifford Chattman: 17

Dee Alford: 13

Justin Ellis: 13

Caeveon Patton: 11

Mike Hughes: 10

If you’re going to get the longest look of anyone in a preseason game, be impressive with those snaps, I suppose. Hellams and Borders dominated snaps for Atlanta and had great days, putting Hellams in a strong spot for a role on this roster and Borders in good shape to be a factor when he returns from his brief suspension. You couldn’t ask for much more than an extended opportunity of the size these two players received, and they made the most of it.

Gaziano was another player who drew justified notice for his work and is competing at a crowded group. As the beneficiary of solid special teams snaps as well, the fact that he looked capable and physical ought to at least put him in the driver’s seat for a practice squad spot, should one be available.

It was more curious to see so much of Tre Flowers and Arnold Ebiketie. Flowers had a key play in the end zone, deflecting the pass Hellams ultimately intercepted, and Ebiketie mixed in a couple of standout reps as a pass rusher. You’d figure Flowers, who has been in line for starter’s snaps with Jeff Okudah out, would have been one of the players sitting this one out. We’ll again have to check back after Week 2 to see if the Falcons just wanted a longer look at a couple of players they’re counting on, or if Flowers and Ebiketie are trending toward not making the roster outright (Flowers) or more limited 2023 roles (Ebiketie).

Special teams

Clifford Chattman: 13

Bradley Pinion: 12

Mykal Walker: 11

Godwin Igwebuike: 9

Micah Abernathy: 9

DeAngelo Malone: 9

Arnold Ebiketie: 9

Tae Davis: 8

Liam McCullough: 8

Darren Hall: 7

Nate Landman: 6

Penny Hart: 6

Joe Gaziano: 6

Clint Ratkovich: 5

Lukas Denis: 5

Natrone Brooks: 5

Tucker Fisk: 4

Dee Alford: 4

Josh Ali: 4

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: 4

DeMarcco Hellams: 4

Breon Borders: 4

Josh Miles: 3

Ryan Neuzil: 3

Mike Jones Jr.: 3

Tyler Vrabel: 3

Kyle Hinton: 3

Andre Smith: 3

Zach Harrison: 3

Kemoko Turay: 3

Jonotthan Harrison: 3

Jalen Mayfield: 3

Younghoe Koo: 3

Mathew Sexton: 2

Keilahn Harris: 2

Frank Darby: 2

Albert Huggins: 2

Timothy Horne: 1

Carlos Washington: 1

Slade Bolden: 1

Adetokunbo Ogundeji: 1

Tre Flowers: 1

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you’re going to make the team by virtue of your special teams ability and you don’t get much playing time on special teams, that might not be a good sign for you. Players like Andre Smith who didn’t receive a long look on defense or special teams are probably in trouble if that trend continues, because it suggests the team isn’t keen to take a particularly long look at their special teams prowess. For Smith, as an example, that would be bad news because Tae Davis is getting that longer look and fellow roster hopeful Mike Jones Jr. received much more playing time on defense.

On the other side of the ledger, it’s noteworthy but not particularly predictive of a roster spot for those players who did get more special teams snaps. Last year in the first week of preseason Tyler Allgeier led the team, which was a good sign for a player expected to make a roster and trying to carve out an early role, but he was followed by the likes of John Raine, Jordan Brailford, Henry Black, and Quinton Bell, who did not wind up sticking on the roster. It’s likely a better sign for Chattman’s practice squad hopes, as an example, that he played a lot and did pretty well on Friday night, because the roster picture in the secondary would appear to be too crowded for him to grab a spot.

Still, a roster hopeful like Igwebuike who had plenty of time on offense and special teams and fared well in both places ought to be feeling pretty good right now.