EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Friday night was the first time Falcons head coach Dan Quinn would get to see his rookie class take the field for their exhibition game.
And not surprisingly, there were some pre-game jitters that "smoothed" out as the game went on, according to rookie linebacker Foye Oluokun.
The Falcons fell to the Jets 17-0 but most importantly, the team got back to Atlanta healthy and with a lot of film for the coaching staff to evaluate and continue teaching.
"I was so excited for this group. I thought tonight there was a little bit of first game [tightness]," Quinn said of the rookie evaluation. "I'm anxious to look to see who really stepped up and made plays. We have a lot to work on [but] I'm encouraged by their youth and speed, but I didn't think we played as well as we can."
Quinn said he would have a more thorough evaluation of the rookie class after watching film but did call out the play of the following players: Wide receiver Devin Gray, quarterback Kurt Benkert, defensive tackle Deadrin Senat and cornerback Isaiah Oliver.
Benkert was 9-of-17 for 125 yards, Gray caught four passes for 83 yards, Oliver finished with two tackles as did Senat.
First-round pick Calvin Ridley saw the least amount of time of all rookie draft picks, catching one pass for minus-2 yards.
The next three preseason games will be extremely valuable for the rookies as they continue to learn the schemes and get acclimated to the speed of the NFL game. Quinn has said he expects a number of these rookies to play important roles this season.