To start, be assured that this is in no way, shape, or form a recap of last night’s game. I just find game recaps to be completely and utterly useless. So, what exactly did we learn last night when the Atlanta Falcons took on the Miami Dolphins in the preseason opener? One thing we did learn is that this was the first preseason game the Falcons have won in two years, but that was fairly obvious. What else? Who made a splash and who just waded in the shallow end of the pool?
Positive: Antone Smith
Boy, oh boy, did Antone Smith blow people away last night! The word making its way around about his performance is “explosive”. Although both of his big plays of the night were called back due to penalties, Smith’s 34-yard catch and 76-yard touchdown run opened eyes and turned heads. Fans are really hoping he gets his fair share of touches in the regular season.
Positive: Devonta Freeman
Not many doubted what Devonta Freeman would be able to bring to this team. Much like Smith, he brings an essence to Atlanta’s offense that we haven’t seen in years. In last night’s game, Freeman had 11 touches for 50 yards. While Freeman feels like he just did an “OK job”, Coach Mike Smith stated he was impressed with how he ran the ball. I wonder if last night has Steven Jackson is shaking in his boots yet.
Positive: Bernard Reedy
The new nickname is already making its way around the internet: Speedy Reedy. It’s the perfect moniker, too. It’s hard to believe that this guy wasn’t drafted. In his four seasons at Toledo, Bernard Reedy had 195 receptions for 2,743 yards and 23 touchdowns. His versatility is also something to consider. He can play running back and wide receiver. If the Falcons added Reedy to that final 53-man roster, they will have quality depth at wide receiver.
Granted it is only the first preseason game, but there are still some concerns here. The defensive line looks like it has gotten better but not by much. Rookie Prince Shembo had one sack, but other than that there really wasn’t much pressure on the quarterback. One positive was that the defense was able to keep the Dolphins from scoring in the second half. That’s progress. However, they’ve still a long way to go.
Negative: Joe Hawley
As exciting as it is has been to see Joe Hawley brawling at training camp these past few weeks, it appears as if those acts of toughness were just that: ACTS. Maybe he was putting on a show for Hard Knocks. If so, it didn’t translate to the field. He was getting handled by Miami’s defensive line just about all night. He’s got a little bit of time to fix it. If he doesn’t, he could end up on the cutting room floor.
The list above didn’t include every positive and negative in last night’s game or else this article would be rather lengthy. If you saw something in last night’s game that didn’t make the list, discuss it in the comments.