Preseason Week 2 Stock Exchange
It’s time to look at who’s stock is up and down after the second preseason game. The Falcons have just one more preseason game before they much begin to make roster cuts and decisions.
WR Troy Bergeron - With the season-ending injury to Meier, the Falcons are likely in need for some roster help at this position. And right now, Bergeron is probably the only one of the “camp bodies” at wide receiver that has thus far distinguished himself in preseason games. He’s tied for the lead among all receivers with four receptions, including a nice run after the catch on a 19-yard score vs. the Patriots. Bergeron’s eligibility for the practice squad has expired, so the only way he can stick is to be on the team’s 53-man roster when all is said and done. And right now, he’s given the team the most to date to why he deserves over the other guys who actually can go on the practice squad.
TE Justin Peelle - Not only is Meier’s injury a potential boon for a player like Bergeron, it might also help Justin Peelle. With all the injuries and question marks the Falcons are facing at the wide receiver, there is no question as to what Peelle’s value is. And if those issues linger at wide receiver, the team may be forced to use a lot more two-tight end sets as the regular season begins. And Peelle thus far has shown that he is ready for the increased workload with 4 receptions thus far in the preseason, including 3 vs. the Patriots. To date, Peelle has caught more passes from Matt Ryan than Harry Douglas has, so relatively speaking he is a trusted option that can take pressure off the other receivers as the season nears.
DE Lawrence Sidbury – While Kroy Biermann has garnered most of the headlines and hype this summer, Sidbury has quietly done a good job pressuring the quarterback as well. He got a sack in what was essentially garbage minutes vs. the Patriots, but he’s shown a greater burst and quickness off the edge than he displayed last season and summer, and looks like he is well on his way to being a key contributor in the team’s rotation.
CB Dominique Franks - This is not in reference to what Franks can do on defense, as he showed some improvement this past week vs. the Patriots in coverage. This is in regards to his special teams production. Franks is in the midst of a competition with Eric Weems over return duties, but thus far has been unimpressive. He has fair caught four punts, and his lone return vs. the Patriots was a 7-yard loss in which he looked amateurish, trying to run to break a big play but rather picking up a loss of yardage. This week vs. Miami may be his last chance to really shine and unseat the much more battle tested and consistent Weems.
S Matt Giordano – While Shann Schillinger made his preseason debut with a couple of tackles and a nice interception, Giordano premiered vs. the Patriots by being the victim on two bad plays where he was caught out of position. One of which resulted in a touchdown. While the fourth safety spot was likely always Schillinger’s to lose, Giordano did little to at least make it interesting and inspire confidence in the coaching staff that a veteran hand like his is necessary. Barring a brilliant performance next week vs. the Dolphins, and a flop on the part of Schillinger it would seem that the job is locked up.
RB Dimitri Nance – While he still may maintain a slight lead on Antone Smith in the competition for the fourth running back position, Nance did little vs. the Patriots to separate himself from the pack. Despite looking promising on two touchdown runs vs. the Chiefs, and thus far being the more reliable of the pair as a receiver out of the backfield, Nance’s fumble vs. the Patriots has made this battle much more even. And while some of the blame may rest on the blocking he’s received up front, his 2.1 yards per carry average is far from impressive. Especially when Smith has it practically doubled.