By Brian Mickens

The Falcons are set to face the Baltimore Ravens Thursday in their last exhibition game before the start of the NFL season. After falling in a low scoring match-up to the Dolphins last Saturday, the offensive line still continued to struggle. The Falcons gave up three sacks in four series while Matt Ryan was at the helm, and giving up three more under second string quarterback T.J Yates. Even in the return of running-back Tevin Coleman, the Falcons only gained 50 yards in rushing. Though it’s the preseason it’s still a blueprint of what to expect from teams going into the regular season. If the Falcons can’t get the offensive line under control, it’s going to be a long season in Flowery Branch.

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Speculations had grew over the past few weeks that veteran Jake Long could be possibly joining the team. However, after the Falcons waived wide-receiver Bernard Reedy and signed offensive-lineman from Cincinnati, Eric Lefeld; they could be making a pass on the veteran O-Lineman who suffered back-to-back ACL tears in 2013 and 2014. Only time will tell as to where new signee Eric Lefeld falls in the rotation at offensive lineman.

Head coach Dan Quinn is still excited to see what the offensive line has to offer going into the regular season…

“Up front in the offensive line, I can’t wait to see Ryan Schrader, I’m anxious to see him going in and working his skills exactly like he wants to. Jon Asamoah you know, and seeing the work that he can do.”

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Every good quarterback needs a running back…

Fortunately we haven’t seen the full potential of the Falcons running attack since Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman have both been battling hamstring injuries. 150 yards in three games for any team is unacceptable. Hopefully with the return of Freeman and Coleman, the passing game won’t be the only element to the Falcons offense. As you remember the years of Michael Turner, the Falcons were able to keep teams honest with both the run and pass. Don’t expect Matt Ryan to have a sensational year if he’s throwing the ball 40-50 times a game. However, an offenses success all starts on the front lines. If they can’t find protection, sacks, interceptions and low rushing averages will occur frequently this season.

What to look for…

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The Falcons will also be going up against one of the most physical defenses this Thursday in the Baltimore Ravens. Veteran Terrell Suggs, coming off 12 sacks last year will definitely be a person the Falcons have to look out for. Chris Canty and 3rd-year player Brandon Williams will also challenge the inexperienced line of the Falcons. The Ravens don’t have one of the best offenses, so look for the Falcons to put pressure on Flacco and force young receivers to make plays.