The Falcons hit the road again on Wednesday to take on the Miami Dolphins in Orlando at Camping World Stadium. See the photos from the team's travel day
How Will the Starters Look?:Thursday's game will be the closest thing to a dress rehearsal in the NFL. Many starters will play through the first half, and in doing so, will give fans a comprehensive look at the 2016 club.
"For the guys that may need those extra quarters, certainly the younger players, they may be more available than the guys who don't," head coach Dan Quinn said. "It won't be just a 'this unit is staying for that time,' but we're anxious to see the guys."
The Pass-Rush: Atlanta has tallied five sacks through two preseason games, and increasing that number will be at the front of the defense's mind. Vic Beasley, Jr. is expected to be a full participant on Thursday after missing Week 2 with a shoulder injury. Brooks Reed and Adrian Clayborn have looked good of late, too, now that each has established himself at DE.
And if Miami's offense attacks the way Atlanta believes it will, the front seven will have plenty of chances to disrupt the quarterback.
"We anticipate a good bit of throwing in this game. That's been Adam (Gase's) history for sure," Quinn said. "If they want to try to feature it in that way then we want to be ready to play that way. Whatever style they want to go then we'll be ready too."
The Turnover Margin: Atlanta has yet to create a turnover during the preseason. This has been "a sore subject" for the team, Quinn said Monday, and in addition to registering sacks, generating fumbles and interceptions will be a top priority for the defense.
"On the preseason, Miami is in the plus (in turnover ratio), so they've done a good job in that way. That's one part of the challenge that we're looking forward to this weekend," Quinn said.
Position Battles: With the starters and second-stringers expected to play a lot, Week 3 of the preseason could have a big influence on key position battles, including those at defensive back, return specialist right guard and linebacker. At the heart of these competitions are the rookies, many of whom have proven they're ready to challenge for starting jobs right off the back.
"It's just a game. You're out here with professionals now, so you have to look at it on a different scale, but this is something I've been doing since I was little," fourth-round pick De'Vondre Campbell said. "So it's just a bigger stage and a better opportunity for myself. That's how I look at it.
"I think it just says a lot to our rookie class in general that we came in with the right mindset. We want to come in and help contribute in any way we can, and I think we've been doing that thus far. We just want to keep continuing to build on the momentum we've got so far."
Who Will Earn Their Keep?: When Matt Ryan and Co. head to the bench, many of those who get subbed in will be fighting for their jobs. The first round of cuts will take place in the coming days, and those on the bubble know their short-term fate could be determined by how well they perform against the Dolphins.