Atlanta Falcons: Dan Quinn will treat third game as a dress rehearsal


Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn will be treating the third week of preseason as a dress rehearsal for the regular season.

The starters saw more playing time in the second game against New York than they did in the opener with Tennessee, and this trend will continue in the third exhibition contest. In the final week of August, Quinn wants to prepare the team for a typical week in the regular season.

“We’re going to do some of our mock week in terms of game planning and the preparation that goes into it,” Quinn said. “The most important part is we want to get our function of how the week is going to go.”

Establishing routine is critical to success in the National Football League. Setting this early gets the players adapted and ready to roll when the real games kick off in just a few weeks time.

“It’s new for some of the guys here in terms of how we approach the week, what happens on each day so we really want to get that down.”

Matt Ryan and the starting offense played two series against the Jets after only playing in one versus the Titans. It’s tough to strike the balance between getting important reps and risking a player’s health. While Quinn would love to keep Ryan and Julio Jones on the field all game to get them in rhythm, the risk of injury is too great.

Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester (17) returns a kick off during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

For the players who have locked down their positions as starters, their playing time may not increase a whole lot against the Miami Dolphins on August 29. But what about the players in need of reps?

“That will be on a case-by-case basis of who needs more work, who needs less. It won’t be a group decision, some guys will go longer than others,” Quinn said.

One of those players could be Brooks Reed, who made his Falcons debut against the Jets after being sidelined with a groin injury. Quinn will want him to get reps under his belt after missing time.

“It was great to see him out there.” “For him to go out and play the style he plays, he was wound up and ready to go tonight.”

The Falcons’ starters were impressive on both sides of the football against the Jets, but the biggest cause for concern came when the reserves came on. Backup quarterbacks T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree struggled to keep the offense humming, but more worrying was on defense.

What was wrong?

“I thought there was some tackling issues we can really get together on,” Quinn said. “To leave the game without any takeaways is hard. It’s hard for us to live by the ball and not get any.”

This is an area the Falcons will surely be working on heading into the third game. Next up is the Miami Dolphins. Atlanta will have a tough job containing an impressive group of wide receivers in Jarvis Landry, Greg Jennings and Kenny Stills.

Hopefully we will finally get a chance to see the top three running backs in action. Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman and Antone Smith all missed the game with hamstring injuries.

Against the Dolphins, we will get our clearest vision yet of the 2015 Atlanta Falcons.

Next: Falcons lose to Jets: Five takeaways

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