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There was not much to reveal in this preseason game with these two teams other than to say Atlanta has the better overall talent in depth, but Arizona can trump that by having the best higher-end talent (DJ, Patrick Peterson et al).
I feel like when I watch these two teams they’re capable of beating anybody or getting beat by anybody – and that they’re both headed to an 8-8 type season but with a little scheduling magic or the right bounce of the ball – either can get to 9-10 wins.
Watching Arizona, I felt like I was not seeing anything I’ve never seen before. It’s the same thing over and over…predictable. Their starters acted accordingly and their backups did their normal, unimpressive thing. Only one guy really broke through the lower ranks for Arizona and caught my attention – a guy I’ve been on for years…but will get to that.
I was captivated with two things from this game from Atlanta’s perspective, and wewill start there with the player notes…
Fantasy player notes…
— No Devonta Freeman in this game, so Tevin Coleman (3-19-0, 1-14-0/1) got the full start. It was a re-reminder to me that Coleman is the best running back they have. He so graceful running the ball when he has space to really hit it. He’s not the greatest RB in the NFL, but he’s a unique talent that even though I really like him — I’ve been overlooking. I think me being mad at the inevitability of Freeman has made me undervalue what Coleman brings.
Why am I giving more credence to Duke Johnson and bypassing Tevin Coleman in redraft? But I have. I’m falling for the who’s going to get more touches/who gets better talking up by the media for some reason. In reality, Duke Johnson, just using him as an example, is never going to be any more than what he is – a mediocre at best player who is going to get shoved touches. I like that…I like touches, but I’m putting touches ahead of talent in some instances when I overlook Coleman.
With Coleman, I get pretty good touches but I’m undervaluing the fact that if Freeman goes down, Coleman is an RB1. I’ll never say that about Duke Johnson if Isaiah Crowell well goes down. With Coleman, I get some touches…with the upside of potential magic. Don’t make the same mistake I’ve been making undervaluing him. I can only project I’m so high because of the likely touch count – the hidden value is if Coleman takes over for an injured Freeman…or just takes over because he’s better.
We might be back into a ‘buy low’ situation for those of you worried about your RB depth chart for Fantasy. The Donta Freemancloud is blocking Tevin Coleman’s ray of sunlight potential.
— The other thing I noticed about the Falcons from this game — A reminder that Matt Ryan (4-11 for 36 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) is not that great of a quarterback. He was downright awful in this game. No matter how many times I watch him I’m never overly impressed. Let me explain before you think I’m just poking at guys I don’t like. Keep in mind, I hate Melvin Gordon, but I’ve been praising him for two weeks based on what I’ve seen this preseason. I’m only going by what I see.., and I don’t hold onto losing positions for spite.
It’s one thing for Matt Ryan to throw a pass over or under the receiver…or even get picked off. It’s not like that’s never happened in the history of the world before. Although if you look at Matt Ryan stat line here — there was a little too many incompletions in this game…and they were earned. The weird thing was Ryan was throwing passes to receivers who weren’t open (some clearly double covered) while not even seeing other receivers wide open – and I don’t mean on the other side of the field, I mean guys open roughly within the same tunnel vision side of the field. It’s almost like Ryan had made up his mind what to do before the snap. And that’s the thing I see with Matt Ryan – I don’t see a great quarterback, I see an OK quarterback who has hot streaks/lucky streaks and then other times he doesn’t…but he’ll revert to the mean eventually. Last year was an outlier for him. Given a new coordinator and a regression to the mean…and what I saw here and this entire preseason — No thank you for 2017.
— One more note about the Falcons – the starting wide receivers were Mohamed Sanu (1-10-0/4), Julio Jones (0-0-0/1)…and Justin Hardy (0-0-0/1). Taylor Gabriel (0-0-0/1) was not seen for several series and then not for long.
Again, new coordinator…and Justin Hardy is a good receiver. I wonder if Gabriel is going to get pigeonholed into fourth WR for obvious passing plays — and not seen as an offensive weapon to design plays for. I have to take the stock of Gabriel down because of what I’ve seen in his pre-season debut – it’s all I have to go on with him and this new coordinator.
— On the Arizona side, Jaron Brown (2-4-0/2) started and saw the first target of the game. John Brown (2-42-2/2) at the stats, but Jaron was the starter.
— Do you want to talk about a rookie entering NFL action with a dull roar…Hasson Reddick (1 tackle) hasn’t shown me a thing. I’m not writing him off at all, but considering this is a big position move for him and you’ve not seen a lick of anything to get excited about — you have to worry he’ll have no impact early, and may just not be that good at linebacker.
— Quick note – if Krishawn Hogan played in this game I didn’t see him. He definitely didn’t have a target. I have no note on him. Rookie WR Chad Williams (1-9-0/2) is barely making a preseason impact either…speaking of rookie Arizona WRs.
— The leading tackler for Arizona – none other than CFM/FFM favorite Cap Capi…he only had 7 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 3 QB hits registered. This guy does this every preseason and cannot make a team to save his life.
At a certain point, I have to ask — exactly what are NFL coaches looking for? Capi has probably had more sacks/QB Hits per snap than any player in the last three preseasons and the guy literally can’t make a roster. Don’t you think at some point, given the attrition through injury, etc. that someone would at least give him a shot…on like a terrible football team late in the season? Nope.
He was better in this one preseason game then 2016 1st-round draft pick Robert Nkemdiche will be in his entire NFL career – but Capi will be cut in a few days. Further compounding the madness – Capi won’t get picked up by any other team either. What’s the point of the preseason?
— UDFA LB Jermaine Grace (8 tackles) led the Falcons and tackles, but he did not stand out to me as I watched him. He looks like a useful hand but not an emerging star – at least for this one view.
Grace = 6’0″/233 4.57 40-time, 7.37 three cone, 21 bench reps. There are some tools to work with here but he’s probably headed to the practice squad to develop them.
— Former Alabama transfer to South Alabama WR Josh Magee (1-57-1/1) had a sweet TD in this game. He caught a bubble screen and then just out ran a million other people for a 57-yard TD as if they were standing still.
I didn’t think Magee had much to get interested in for the NFL, but he got my attention with that play. However, that was his only target/catch so it’s hard to project him further until I see more of his NFL work. One to keep on the lower level radar.
Magee = 5’10″/185, 4.49 40-time, 6.91 three-cone
— One quick comment about Joe Haden because I’ve already written up the Cleveland and Pittsburgh games prior to this. Wouldn’t you think Haden would be perfect for the Arizona Cardinals? They’ve been searching for a second CB for a while. The fact that players seem to be avoiding going to Arizona should be telling, shouldn’t it?
Also, you may have noticed a certain Pittsburgh DST draft guide update from yesterday. I was watching Joe Haden in his preseason game last week and I thought he looked pretty decent. I was shocked that he was cut – but always keep in mind Gregg Williams, defensive coordinator for Cleveland, is criminally insane. Who knows how Hayden got himself out of Cleveland, but I’m guessing if there’s anything left in the tank for Hayden it will be found in Pittsburgh, not Cleveland.
If Joe Haden returns the form, and with the heist of Vance McDonald the day prior – the Pittsburgh Steelers have gone from legit but long-shot Super Bowl contenders to nearly on equal footing with New England, Dallas, and Kansas City. The old Joe Haden could take the Steelers to the Super Bowl/past New England.
How is it all of the good teams keep getting all the good players from the bad teams?