JACKSONVILLE -- As the Falcons get ready for their final "dress rehearsal" game on Saturday night in Jacksonville, there are a number of things Atlanta's coaching staff will be looking to see. The starters are likely to play between anywhere from three-to-five series, so we'll get a good look at how the Falcons' starting units match up against Jacksonville's.
The Falcons have also announced the following players will not play: Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Ricardo Allen, Deion Jones, Marvin Hall and Ben Garland.
Here are five storylines to watch in preseason game No. 3:
1. Will rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley lock up the starting kick returner spot?
One of the main position battles during training camp and through the first two preseason games has been at the kick and punt return position. So far, we've seen Calvin Ridley, Marvin Hall, Ito Smith and Isaiah Oliver all get opportunities, but it appears Ridley could be the favorite after his electric 34-yard return against the Kansas City Chiefs. Special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong wouldn't necessarily say Ridley has won the job, but he did say he is a "natural" at the position. Will he solidify that role on Saturday night?
2. Right guard battle between Brandon Fusco and Wes Schweitzer should be settled
After a strong performance against Kansas City, Falcons head coach Dan Quin said Brandon Fusco has "earned the right" to start against the Jaguars. Fusco and Wes Schweitzer have been battling for the starting spot at right guard since Fusco was signed in free agency this spring. Schweitzer was listed as the starter when the team's first unofficial depth chart was released before preseason game No. 1, but it appears that could change. Quinn said he wasn't ready to declare Fusco as the starter this week, but after this game he's likely to make the decision.
3. Ricky Ortiz should lock up fullback battle
Ricky Ortiz appears to be in the lead to win the fullback battle after an impressive training camp. The team recently signed veteran Jalston Fowler with two preseason games left to play, but Ortiz looks to have won the job.
"The fullback spot for us, Ricky (Ortiz) is clearly in the lead for us, but Fowler was somebody we definitely had interest in," Quinn said.
Will he solidify his spot in these last two games after a strong performance with the starting unit on Saturday night?
4. Damontae Kazee will be running with the starting defense
Damntae Kazee has shined in both preseason games. He led the team in tackles against the Jets with 11 total (nine solo stops) and recorded an interception last Friday against the Chiefs. With Ricardo Allen not playing against the Jaguars, we'll get a chance to see how Kazee looks with the starting defense.
5. Will Isaiah Oliver show growth?
The Falcons are excited about what rookie cornerback Isaiah Oliver brings to their defense – speed, athleticism, length and ball skills. But, as it is for most rookies, there's a transition process that takes place. Sometimes the way a player bounces back from a missed opportunity, can reveal a lot about who that player is. That was certainly the case with Oliver after giving up a touchdown last weekend against Kansas City. Oliver didn't use the proper technique and it cost him. And rather than make excuses for what happened and that's exactly what Quinn wants to see.
"When you play on the line of scrimmage like we do, people are going to try you," Quinn said. "On that one, he got beat. There were no excuses which I like, right away tried to test him like hey, what happened there. He didn't offer any excuse to say what happened, and he responded right away. I don't like that it happened but, in some instances, you have to have some on the job training and no better place than out on the field, especially in the exhibition season."