The Atlanta Falcons’ first pre-season game is in the books with a 23-3 loss to the Titans. It was less than encouraging on nearly every front for a team who appeared to be lost offensively.
The Atlanta Falcons star of the first pre-season game was their new punter Cameron Nizialek. When the punter is the most impressive function of your offense it is worrisome even in pre-season.
In fairness, Matt Ryan didn’t take a snap in this game and the offense was primarily only 2nd and 3rd team players even early on in the game. However, managing only three points and 52-passing yards is unacceptable even in the pre-season.
Nizialek was a lone bright spot for the Falcons punting the ball six times for an average of 54-yards per punt.
Nizialek will likely start the season as the Falcons punter and will be one of the more popular punters the Falcons have had on their roster, considering he is a former Georgia Bulldog.
Another former SEC player Feleipe Franks had some good moments for the Falcons as well. While he went an abysmal 2 for 9 passing, he showed off an impressive scrambling ability with a 51-yard scramble.
It was the lone offensive highlight for Atlanta and certainly more than enough to give Franks another look in the next game.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the game was how poorly A.J. McCarron played. It was surprising to see the veteran struggle as much as he did going 5-12 for 36-passing yards and a pick. Hardly the stable veteran Atlanta was expecting.
While it is far too early in the pre-season to overreact to a single bad outing it certainly is worrisome. It could potentially open the door for Franks if he were able to put together better outings in the next two games. Atlanta will play their next pre-season game Saturday against the Miami Dolphins.