Atlanta will leave the comforts of the Georgia Dome to head to northern Ohio to face perpetually rebuilding Cleveland in NFL preseason football, with the Browns having a quite a bit of turnover including new head coach.
The Falcons won and covered against Washington 23-17 as three-point home favorites, largely due to start of the second half kickoff return for touchdown, while Cleveland never got going in 17-11 loss at Green Bay, after being flipped to one-point favorites on game day.
Falcons’ Foresights -
Though Atlanta won the game, many questions remained looking ahead. It is not time to overreact, nonetheless, Matt Ryan was 0-4 in two series and players like receiver Julio Jones were already coming out and defending their starting quarterback. What to watch for in this contest is if the Falcons are really as committed to throwing down the field as they claim. Receiver Aldrick Robinson showed promise and might be winning the battle to be third receiver in multiple packages and could be another deep threat along with Jones.
Both lines did not distinguish themselves or come away looking awful, but the general lack of pass rush was still very noticeable. Long time veteran Dwight Freeney is hoped to be answer in third down situations, let’s see if he’s the guy or others emerge to help make Atlanta a contender to Carolina in the NFC South.
Backup QB Matt Schaub looked very comfortable in this offense (10-15 passing, 179 yards), which was his best performance in years, be it in August or the regular season. This is good road test for Dirty Birds.
Browns Business -
It was the start of the Hue Jackson era for Cleveland and it a obvious a few weeks of practice is not going to solve all of the Browns woes. In allowing 17 points to Green Bay, four were via a pair of safeties, including QB Cody Kessler going out the backdoor of the end zone for one of them. (Good spot to write comment)
Robert Griffin lll is no longer worthy of a nickname and he was a mixture of fair to poor in his Cleveland debut. No matter, Griffin is Jackson’s signal caller until he’s not and Jackson made it clear after the game the interception like RG3 threw will not be tolerated.