Week 3 of the pre-season is where the rubber hits the road. Starters play into the second half, regular season games plans are installed. Lets hope the Falcons get it together for the Titans, because if Saturday night’s loss to the Texans is any indication, the Birds have a lot of work to do. Sloppy tackling, poor blocking and tons of mental mistakes are part of preseason but this is getting really troubling.

Sam Baker is done for another season but the silver lining is our next generation franchise left tackle Jake Mathews can get to work where he belongs. You’d never wish back to back knee rehabs on anyone but Baker has becoming something of a lightning rod for disgruntled Falcons Fans. He was able to step up from his inconsistent play was rewarded in the contract year of 2012. He anchored the line as the Falcons made it all the way to NFC Championship. Since then a zero in shoes.

As soon as Jake stepped on the practice field at Flowery Branch he was the best offensive lineman on the team. The big question now is who starts at right tackle? The huge but some times sluggish Lamar Holmes or the still developing Ryan Schraeder.

Where’s the beef?

All off season we’ve been told of how physical this team will be up front. The addition of Paul Soliai from the Dolphins and KC’s first round disappointment Tyson Jackson was supposed to make the Falcons impervious to the run. Houston ran all over us.

There was limited heat on the quarterback with exception of Osi Umenyiora as “designated pass rusher”. Kroy Biermann isn’t a Jack of all Trades, he’s more like a 9… he does no one thing exceptionally well. Mike Nolan like his flexibility

for his hybrid 4-3/3-4 defense, but many Falcon fans would like to see someone else get more reps, like Jonathan Massaquoi or rookie LB from Notre Dame, Prince Shembo.

On offense Antone Smith shows big play flash every time he touches the ball. How did he not get in the field until December last season? Does he not pass block well enough to be out there? Or like Jason Snelling he must have parked in GM Thomas Dimitroff’s parking space…

Looking forward to see FSU’s Devonta Freeman getting some reps with the first team as well.

Last years the Falcons looked awful in the preseason, I brushed it off at the time thinking that after the 13-3 2012 season, everything was in place for another run deep in the playoffs. Mike Smith commented on the first week of HBO’s Hard Knocks how slow the tempo and how low the energy level were on film last year compared to his first season in 2008. The Falcons have preached toughness and getting more physical this season. That’s all well and good but if you can’t block and can’t tackle it’s gonna be another long year.

Way too early to panic, but Falcon fans need this team to look the part of a playoff contender Saturday night.


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