ATLANTA – If an NFL player finds himself on a roster bubble in August, it’s typically a good idea to use his time in preseason game action to shine for the coaching staff. That’s exactly what happened with these Falcons who needed a good showing Thursday night versus Washington.
Here are five Falcons who helped their cause versus the Redskins:
Aldrick Robinson, WR – Robinson had been showing flashes of brilliance through two weeks of camp already, but the final few spots at wide receiver on the Falcons depth chart will be highly contested.
Not only did Robinson catch three passes (tied for the team lead) for 118 yards (game high), but two of his receptions were on explosive plays of 68 yards and 47. On both long receptions, Robinson easily burst out and away from his defender in coverage, proving he can take the top off a defense.
J.D. McKissic, WR – McKissic’s 101-yard kick return for a touchdown was more than just six points for the Falcons. Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn explained:
“I couldn’t have been more proud of J.D. for his first play to take it back to the house,” said Quinn. “He’ll be the guy years from now talking about ‘Well my first game in the preseason, my first touch, I took it back.’”
McKissic finished 27th in the country and second in the Sun Belt Conference with a kick return average of 26.2 yards at Arkansas State last season. He showed that his special teams prowess could come in very handy for the Falcons in 2016.
Brandon Wilds, RB – Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman saw limited action on Thursday and only rushed a combined seven times. With Terron Ward sidelined with an ankle injury, Wilds put in some good work with his reps.
Wilds will have to improve on his 2.6 yards-per-carry average, but any time a rookie gets into the end zone in his first professional game, he did something right.
Nordly Capi, DE – Capi showed a quick and potent spin move at Friday Night Lights almost a week ago at Grayson High School. On Thursday he displayed even more ability to get after the quarterback.
Capi was credited with half a sack but also notched two of Atlanta’s seven quarterback hits. If he continues to get into the opposing backfield, this second-year pass-rusher from Akron will work his way into a roster spot.
Brian Poole, S – Who was the first Falcons rookie to be inserted into the defensive lineup on Thursday? It was safety Brian Poole.
Not only has Quinn already declared Poole a real contestant for the open nickel spot among the defensive backs, but he also had three tackles and laid big-time hit on a ball-carrier during his time on the field. Poole also showed good play on special teams, as well.