Atlanta Falcons Host Dead-on-Arrival Jacksonville Jags


The Atlanta Falcons are 0-3 in the preseason but could not be in a more different place than their foes du jour on Thursday, the crestfallen Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Atlanta Falcons are 0-3 in the preseason but could not be in a more different place than their foes du jour on Thursday, the crestfallen Jacksonville Jaguars.  The Falcons have scored just 27 points in the last two games and while that’s a far cry from what this team accustomed us to last season, it is also safe to say that the starters will shift gears once the regular season begins. In the meantime, fans at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and watching at home will get to see plenty of the other two Matts, Simms and Schaub. The not-Ryans went 13 of 19 and combined for more than 100 yards and a touchdown.

Jags fans on the other hand can look forward – or not, as the case may be – to a lot of Chad Henne and Brandon Allen, who have combined for three touchdowns and zero interceptions this preseason. Blake Bortles is not likely to play, and before lovers of good football breathe a sigh of relief, keep in mind that this is because starters usually sit out the preseason finale, and Master Bortles has been in fact named the starting quarterback by head coach Doug Marrone.

In Marrone’s defense, he seems to have named Bortles the starter on a weekly basis so he doesn’t have a guaranteed gig for the entire season. that means that the competition for the starting spot is still open, so Henne – who started the ‘dress rehearsal’ third preseason game – is not about to slack off against the Falcons.

Not unlike the quarterback situation with the New York Jets, the competition in Jacksonville has lacked legitimacy. Or, as CBS Sports Senior Writer Pete Prisco put it, “Marrone and company put on a charade last week when Chad Henne started the third preseason game.” Prisco also points out that unless Bortles pulls a John-Travolta-in-Pulp-Fiction-like career comeback to at least his 2015 level, the Jags will become the worst quarterback-drafting franchise since the AFL merged with the NFL.

It all started in 2003 with the Jaguars’ seventh pick in the first round of the NFL Draft, Byron Leftwich. Who? Exactly.

Jacksonville then took Blaine Gabbert as the  No.10 overall pick in 2011 and he went 5-22 in his three seasons with the Jags before getting the big sack. Bortles, who was third overall in the 2014 draft, has a 14-44 record as a starting quarterback and has thrown no fewer than 16 interceptions in each of his three seasons with the Jaguars. How bleak is the outlook for this team?

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Prisco went so far as to lament the fact that the Jags didn’t sign Colin Kaepernick as well as suggest that 70-year-old executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin could take over as head coach in the near future. It should really give Atlanta fans perspective and have them thank their lucky starts that they have a healthy Matty Ice under center. Moreover, the Jags should give the Falcons a similar experience to what their regular-season opener will be like, when they face the equally cast down Chicago Bears.