The Pees factor
The big takeaway from the first pre-season game, for me, at least, was just how competent the Falcons defensive front looked. Something Falcons fans have seldom seen in recent years is a competent, and consistent, pass rush. Against the Titans, the Falcons registered 4 sacks across the night. That might not sound impressive, but, where the Falcons are involved, it is. With the Dolphins on the horizon, that number might be surpassed.
The Falcons starters are more than likely to be making an appearance against the Dolphins. It’s exciting, then, to imagine how the players we’ll see every week from September will look in this new Dean Pees defense.
A bizarre thread from the Titans defeat was the use of Atlanta’s new golden boy, Kyle Pitts. With the backups and rookies getting their first taste of NFL action, it was strange to see Kyle Pitts suit up and fail to make the field.
We’re likely to see the first steps taken by this teams starting players against the Dolphins, and that should see Kyle Pitts catching his first pass as a pro. Just how much we see of Pitts remains to be seen. But it might well give us a bit of an indication as to what sort of role he’ll play in the early blows of 2021.
Question marks (still) at QB
This was a point heading into the first game. Unfortunately, we came away from that fixture with more questions than answers. A.J. McCarron played the first half to…a level. A really, really low level. Feleipe Franks stepped in for the second, and offered a bit more dynamism. That said, he managed to complete exactly 2 passes over two quarters. He looked a fine runner, but there’s still plenty of work to be done through the air.
In their shared practice with the Miami Dolphins, McCarron primarily led the second teams. He didn’t have the best of times. With neither player coming close to impressing, there needs to be a clear improvement from both men against Miami. Failing that, it might be time to scour free agency.