Aug 14, 2023 - Sports

What we learned in the Falcons preseason debut

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith coaching against the Miami Dolphins. Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

This season for the Atlanta Falcons is going to be ... fun.

Driving the news: The Falcons won their first of three preseason games Friday night, beating the Miami Dolphins 19-3.

Of note: It's just the preseason, so we should be skeptical of results, especially because a number of Dolphins starters also sat out.

Here are a few takeaways:

Improved defense: No projected starters played Friday night, but they still managed to force four turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble). One interception was returned for a touchdown.

  • If the backups were flying around the field as such, imagine what the starters could accomplish. Fans aren't asking for the '85 Bears, just an average product.

Offensive balance: The Falcons are going to be a run-first team as long as Arthur Smith is at the helm. But they displayed a little more balance. Passing 23 times and rushing 26.

  • If this trend continues into week one, we could see Smith ask second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder to take more shots downfield, opening more running lanes for a stacked running back rotation.

Cause for concern: Kicker Younghoe Koo struggled, making just one of his three extra point attempts. (He attempted zero field goals.)

  • Koo has established himself as one of the most clutch players in the NFL, so hopefully we can just chalk this up to preseason yips.

What's next: The Falcons play the Bengals at 7:30pm Friday at home.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that Friday's Falcons vs. Bengals game is at 7:30pm (not 7pm).


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