I hate preseason football games. They’re not only hard to watch but to write about as well. That’s a big confession from a bona fide football kid. I grew up watch and playing football, my dad had ties to the NFL in the old days and so it was a rite of passage or a passion for me. Not so much these days.
Exhibition used to be great. It meant football season was just around the corner and after a then long off-season watching basketball and then baseball it was time to watch my favorite sport.
Then money got involved – a lot of money. Football and all professional sports for that matter became all about business. A lot of money was made and throw around to everyone except fans who theoretically finance this trillion-dollar industry. Kids now are programmed to focus on one sport instead of participating in multiple that ends up polarizing them from many friends and society as a whole impeding their social skills, and what turns a game that was just that once into dollars and cents with no sense.
Yeah, I’m old but I remember an era when football players had lives outside of the game and the town and community they represented every Sunday and occasional Monday. Now they are all hired guns and making money is more important to most than winning – unless they can use winning as a tool to increase their bottom dollar.
Today NFL preseason is just a dress rehearsal but fans pay full admission price. It’s like being at a VIP party hoping to get a glimpse of your favorite star even for just a second and usually that’s what it is for three of four preseason games.
Preseason opened Thursday for the Atlanta Falcons lost to the Miami Dolphins 23-20.
Nothing to see here folks.
Much like their appearance in the Super Bowl six months ago the Falcons blew a big lead late to lose. This time it was only a 10-point lead and it was only preseason. But there was a lot of good to see if you analyzed the game.
The first team offense hasn’t lost a step. After a big punt return by Andre Roberts that put the ball on the Miami 36 Matt Ryan, the reigning NFL MVP in the only series he played was 3-of-3 for 32 yards and a touchdown pass of 15 yards to Devonta Freeman.
Atlanta’s Steve Sarkasian seems to have easily blended in with the team that has arguably the league’s most powerful offense. Don’t expect to see a lot of hiccups or growing pains as you did in Kyle Shanihan’s first season. Sarkasian inherits a great unit as did Shanihan but seems content on keeping the unit in motion compared to masking the unit his own.
Four quarterbacks were under center for Atlanta with three of the four completing all their passes. Only Matt Simms who played a majority of the game was 10-of-20. It was Simms first action on a football field since the 2015 preseason when he was with the Buffalo Bills.
The big focus of the game was defense. That has been the Falcons’ Achilles’ for years and was jelling towards the end of last season and the playoffs and with the draft and free agents signings. The first and second teamers looked strong on both sides of the ball with the defense picking off two passes.
Yes, the Falcons blew another lead, but it was only a preseason game and the very little we saw of both first offensive and defensive teams leads me to believe it’s going to be another good if not dominating season. But then again like the old saying goes anything can happen on “any given Sunday”.
The Falcons next preseason game is next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers before they introduce the world to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium on August 26.
– Dave Weinthal
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