Aug 1, 2014; Lawrenceville, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes over defensive tackle Paul Soliai (96) during practice during Falcons Friday Night Lights at Archer High School. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Biggest Questions Heading Into Falcons' Preseason

The offseason is finally over, and the Falcons will be back in action in three days time.  We are far from having a perfect club, and there are some unanswered questions heading into the preseason.  Let’s take a look what we should be keeping an eye on for the next few weeks.

Free Safety

Dwight Lowery suffered a concussion during camp last week, and has a long history dealing with them.  Third round pick Dezmen Southward is still recovering from a leg injury, which will lead to more snaps for Kemal Ishmael.  This is quite an issue for Atlanta’s secondary, as Lowery needs to gel with the defense, and Southward needs to develop as a player.  Luckily, there’s still time to get healthy.

Running Back

Steven Jackson was injured last week as well, suffering an apparent hamstring pull.  This leaves the starting reps wide open for backups Jacquizz Rodgers and Devonta Freeman.  Devonta is having a nice camp, and should see major snaps in this week’s preseason game against the Dolphins.

Offensive Tackle

The popular belief is that Sam Baker, when healthy, is a competent tackle that can get the job done, as we saw in 2012.  The issue is, however, that Baker is finally healthy this year, and is reportedly playing awful in the last few practices.  This brings up the question, “should Jake Matthews watch the left side?” Can Baker play the right side? If not, has Lamar Holmes improved from last year’s experience, and is now ready to live up to his third round draft status?  Hopefully it’s just been a bad few days for him, and not a indicator that we will need to worry about sacks in a three-step drop back.

Practice Intensity

The Falcons training camp has had a different vibe to it than past years.  The passion is there, and so is the fighting.  Every day we hear news of players getting into scuffles, and recentlylearned of Ra’Shede Hageman injuring his wrist in a fight with a teammate.  Does the constant fighting show that the Falcons are becoming more gritty and mean, or should we fear that these players are undisciplined and could cost us future games?

 

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