Posted in Gameday Goods

That Defense Though…..

Jacksonville 13 at Atlanta 7
August 31, 2017
Allison Smith

So, clearly our defense is not going to be our trouble this year.  With many of the first teamers not playing at all in Game 4 of the Preseason, the guys that did play, were fighting hard to earn their spot on this roster.  Last week we had “Fumble Central,” this week was an “Interception Clinic.”  The back-up Falcons defense had 3 interceptions in the first half alone.  Blidi Wren-Wilson and Sharrod Neasman, tipped by Chris Odom, both had interceptions in the end zone to stop Jacksonville drives.  Jermaine Grace hauled in an interception as well and has played with good speed and has really been showing some good skills.

Noting that neither Matt Ryan nor Matt Schaub stepped foot on the field, the offense had another rough night.  After a quick 3 and out, Jacksonville was able to score quickly with a 43-yard pass for a touchdown.  Matt Simms was sacked twice in a single drive and Alex Torgersen threw an interception and was sacked late in the game.  Meanwhile, Matt Bosher had 6 punts, averaging 43 yards.

083117 Chris Odom Sack

Chris Odom Sack     Photo Courtesy:  Atlanta Falcons

The defense caused many long field goals and punts for Jacksonville.  Lots of speed, energy, and effort by the young guys Thursday night.  Odom finished with 6 tackles, an assist, a sack, a quarterback hurry, a tackle for loss, and may have played himself into a coveted roster position.

A few offensive stand outs were Deante Burton with 2 catches for 44 yards, Marvin Hall with a 65-yard gain.  Kelvin Taylor had a nice 24-yard catch from Simms early in the game, and Darion Griswold recovered a fumble for a touchdown, then later had a 51-yard catch from Alex Torgersen.  Overall, Sims showed himself well in all the preseason games.  So, all is not lost, even for our 3rd to 4th string team.

Reggie Davis returned one kickoff 22 yards, while Hall had an 8-yard punt return.  Punt coverage for the Falcons was better, or Bosher’s kicks were just too good.  But the kickoff coverage allowed 20 and 21 yard returns.

In the grand scheme, game 4 was pure evaluation for the bubble and not-even bubble guys.  We came out of training camp and preseason with no injuries (Devonta Freeman was fully dressed Thursday).  Head Coach Dan Quinn noted that he and Thomas Dimitroff have “Difficult decisions ahead regarding the roster.”  DQ said it will be a difficult, but exciting weekend ahead.  They both are really happy with the new rule to have a full roster through the end of preseason, to give more guys more chances to make a roster or show off their skills for other teams.

As for the most heated competition of the preseason…..Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer at right guard, DQ commented that “both played at center and guard…pretty much have decision down…could see both playing,” which is what Allison said weeks ago….It will be interesting to see if Coach names a starter or just release the roster or cut list.

While we may not be winning in preseason, we have seen good speed on all 3 phases of the game, lots of team play, effort, and learning.

So now, we wait.



Featured Photo: Courtesy of Atlanta Falcons – Brotherhood celebrates

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