I’m aware it is preseason. And if the Falcons begin the season with two impressive wins over the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, all of these concerns and questions about the Falcons preseason will be long forgotten. But we have yet to reach those bridges, and until we do, we have to talk about something.
Most experts indicated that veteran teams like the Falcons would be least affected by the NFL lockout. And perhaps that is true, but it does seem like there has been some effect on the Falcons offense with some inconsistencies through three games.
The two positions on that side of the ball that probably would be most affected by the lockout would probably be the quarterback and offensive line, and it does appear that those two positions have had the majority of lapses for the Falcons so far this summer.
Matt Ryan has had his struggles with inaccuracy throughout the last two weeks, none more noticeable than when he missed a wide open Harry Douglas in the back of the endzone last night with a high throw. Trying to get into a rhythm can be tough in the preseason, especially when OTAs have been eliminated. Offenses typically are the slower to get going each year as opposed to defenses because everyone has to get on the same page, and particularly the page that Ryan is on.
Could it potentially take a bit more time than usual before those kinks can be worked out?
Up front, the Falcons have had a number of procedural penalties, and on a couple of times managed to kill drives. During the lockout, when players like Ryan organized team workouts, offensive linemen were the ones left out in the cold. Going through 7-on-7 drills really doesn’t help linemen, since they need contact to get ready for the season. And in those workouts, contact was minimal.
It also doesn’t help that the Falcons have been trying to break in a new starter after three years with the same unit. Obviously that is a significant disruption to continuity, and made worse when those starting candidates hardly have any real playing time.
Now that we’ve moved past the third preseason, starters aren’t expected to make prolonged appearances in the final game. Essentially they will now have two weeks off from any real game activity to work out these kinks, and one wonders if that is going to help when it does appear that many of these problems could go away with increased reps.