FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today’s Early Bird Report includes a look back at the things fans learned in the Falcons’ loss to the Jaguars as well as the revelation that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has yet to be cleared for contact.
The Falcons dropped their third preseason game, losing 17-6 to the Jaguars, but there was plenty to take away from the exhibition game. Atlanta’s starters saw their most action of the preseason, and they played a competitive first half against a team that played in the AFC Championship Game.
Following the loss, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shared 10 things fans learned in the third preseason game.
Ledbetter didn’t focus on too many positive things from Saturday’s game; his first four points mentioned Atlanta’s dropped passes, the defense giving up chunk yardage, Damontae Kazee’s penalty for leading with his helmet and the tough outing for the offensive line.
It wasn’t all bad, though, as Ledbetter also mentioned Keanu Neal’s interception (shown below), Matt Bryant’s strong performance and the solid outing from the team’s returners. To see more of what Ledbetter had to say about the game, click here.
Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:
ESPN: Predicting the best 100 players of 2018
With the start of the regular season less than two weeks away, ESPN polled 50 experts on who would be the best 100 players of 2018. Six Falcons players made the list, led by Julio Jones at No. 8. Among the other Atlanta players included in ESPN’s ranking are Matt Ryan, Alex Mack, Devonta Freeman, Vic Beasley and Deion Jones.
“Jones, a Pro Bowler last season, has established himself as one of the NFL’s elite coverage linebackers,” ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes. “He combines top-level speed with great awareness and sure tackling. Jones has 244 tackles, six interceptions and two defensive touchdowns in 31 career games.”
To see the entire ranking, click here.
AJC: OK, Falcons, show us once more the preseason means nothing
For the second consecutive year, the Falcons are staring at the possibility of an 0-4 preseason record. That didn’t mean too much last season, as Atlanta opened the regular season with three straight wins and became the only NFC team to return to the playoffs. Steve Hummer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution implored the Falcons to prove once again the playoffs mean nothing.
“As a sign of what’s to come, the preseason is no more accurate than a preschooler’s finger painting or a telemarketer’s promise,” Hummer writes. “Now it becomes the Falcons task over the next four months to prove such assumption true beyond all doubt. Their mission is to demonstrate what a sham, what a gouge of the ticket holder and an insult to football-loving people everywhere, the preseason really is.”
To read the rest of Hummer’s column, click here.
NFL.com: Eagles QB Carson Wentz still not cleared for contact
Although one final preseason game remains, it would be understandable for Falcons fans to begin to turn their attention to the season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. On Sunday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson revealed that starting quarterback Carson Wentz has yet to be cleared for contact as he rehabs from an ACL injury that ended his 2017 season.
"I don't know how many times I can answer this question," Pederson told reporters, according to NFL.com’s Nick Shook. "When they clear him, he'll be cleared."
If Wentz is unable to play in Week 1, the Eagles would presumably turn to Nick Foles as their starting quarterback against the Falcons. In last year’s playoff matchup, Foles completed 23 of his 30 pass attempts for 246 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
To read more of the report on Wentz, click here.