Looking at which players potentially stepped up in last night’s loss to Jacksonville to make one final push for a roster/practice squad position. As well as those players that may have not.
Kevin Cone – Cone has had a few too many drops this preseason, but he made up for it with a nice catch and run for the team’s lone passing touchdown against Jacksonville. If Cone is cut, the highlight of that play alone will make it harder for him to clear waivers and wind up on the Falcons’ practice squad. I don’t know if he showed enough to make the team as the fifth wideout, but he definitely did enough to make that decision harder for the Falcons brass.
Pat Schiller – I’ve been impressed with Schiller in each of the Falcons preseason games, but watching him last night as he tied with Akeem Dent for the team lead in tackles, I think he’s far and away the most impressive of the team’s three rookie linebackers. He may not be the biggest, strongest, or fastest of the group, but watching him closely, he’s the most instinctual and best able to put himself in a position to make a play. That’s what you want in a young linebacker. I don’t think it has been enough to make the final roster, but at the very least it solidify a practice squad spot for him.
Peyton Thompson – Thompson did some nice things both on defense and special teams. While he was the culprit that got beat by the long touchdown to Kevin Elliott, in retrospect he won’t look as bad when the team reviews the film, because Mike Smith will be so busy chewing out everyone else for missing those tackles to notice Thompson got beat. Thompson is a solid corner in run support as well as coverage and has had a good enough summer that he should be a shoe-in for a practice squad spot. And it might have been good enough that he could sneak onto the roster, especially if Chris Owens’ health and availability for the regular season opener is questionable.
Chris Hope – With Mitchell having some struggles, I think Hope showed some things last night including some on special teams. Schillinger is one of the team’s top special teams players, but Hope’s ability to contribute there could get him potentially the nod. Up until last night, I think Hope’s chances were tied exclusively to his experience, and not necessarily whether he can bring certain skills to the field. But I think that began to teeter last night, and Hope showcased that he is much more than an old guy that at one point in time was a pretty good safety.
Dominique Davis – I don’t think Davis hurt his chances of making the team. I think he was a lock to make it before last night, otherwise they would not have cut Chris Redman. But in increased reps, Davis did not really blossom as much as people hoped (including myself). He made some nice plays, but made his share of mistakes. I believe the Falcons were hoping going into the game, that if Davis had a strong enough performance he could potentially take over the No. 2 position behind Matt Ryan. But after a few too many mental errors and inaccurate throws, I’m not sure that was accomplished.
LaMark Brown – Brown had another pass go through his hands and into the arms of a defender, the second time that has happened this preaseason. While Brown has excellent athletic potential as a tight end and H-back, it does not appear he’s ready for prime time. The Falcons probably need to be scouring the waiver wire for their third tight end.
Charles Mitchell – I think Mitchell was probably the safest of the three backup safeties going into the Jaguar game, but now I’m not so sure. He missed a couple of tackles, two of which directly resulted in Jaguars touchdowns. Mitchell has a potentially bright future on special teams, so I think he’ll still make it. But the race is tighter than it was 24 hours ago.