Atlanta Falcons: Three preseason questions needing answers

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Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Leonard Hankerson (85) celebrate after a touchdown against the New York Jets during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Will receivers not named Julio Jones produce in 2015?

Julio Jones burst onto the scene in the first preseason game, racking up four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. He was very quiet through the next two games but showed enough in the first to prove that he is ready to produce once the season begins. Behind him however there are some question marks as to who Matt Ryan can look to for production.

Roddy White has been kept out of preseason play with an elbow injury and has dealt with nagging injuries for the past couple seasons. Leonard Hankerson when healthy has potential, but was relatively quiet the first two preseason games, catching four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Rookie Justin Hardy has been consistent, catching nine passes for 114 yards throughout the first three weeks of play. The most productive receiver throughout the preseason has been Nick Williams with 11 receptions for 122 yards, though it is not known if Williams will make final cuts.

The tight ends also haven’t produced great yardage as receiving options throughout the preseason. Gone are the days of Tony Gonzalez and while the team has looked for his replacement in Levine Toilolo, things haven’t quite worked that way.

This offseason the Falcons brought in veteran Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki to add the tight end position back in to the passing attack. However through the first three games, Tamme hasn’t caught a pass and Toilolo and Moeaki together have produced seven catches for 63 yards.

In order for the Falcons aerial attack to continue to flourish, Ryan is going to have to have consistent targets. While Julio is primed for another massive receiving year, his fellow receivers will have to step up and maximize the potential each of them has.

What to watch for in the final preseason game

Look for Hankerson, Hardy, and Williams to be the major receiving targets in Thursday’s preseason game. While they’ll be catching passes from T.J. Yates, Sean Renfree, and Rex Grossman and playing against the bottom of the Ravens’ roster, it will be fun to see what kind of numbers the three of them can put up.

Next: An improved defense?