The Falcons dropped their second preseason game, a 34-27 loss to the Dolphins on Thursday in Miami Gardens, Fla. There were a few key standouts, however, the biggest coming from backup quarterback Matt Schaub
Here are the key storylines from South Florida:
Schaub bounces back with strong performance
After a forgettable performance in the Hall of Fame Game a week ago, Falcons quarterback Matt Schaub bounced back with a solid performance.
Schaub played the entire first half for the Falcons and completed 12 of 19 pass attempts for 172 yards, including a 13-play, 88-yard scoring drive to open the game.
The strong showing from the Falcons No. 2 quarterback against Miami was encouraging. A week ago against the Denver Broncos, things didn't go so well for 38-year-old. Schaub completed only 4 of 10 passes for 14 yards and also threw an interception. For more on Schaub's big night, click here.
Falcons look sharp in short-yardage situations
It's no secret the Falcons struggled in short-yardage situations last season, and they made several moves this offseason in an effort to address that problem.
During the first half of their preseason game against the Miami Dolphins those moves paid off. Atlanta scored two first-half touchdowns against the Dolphins on Thursday night, both of which were 1-yard runs. Ito Smith scored the Falcons' first touchdown on an easy run behind rookie right guard Chris Lindstrom, who created a wide-open lane by knocking his defender out of the gap. For more on the Falcons offensive line's performance against the Dolphins, click here.
Dimitroff: Deal with Julio Jones 'around the corner'
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff joined the CW broadcast team during Atlanta's second preseason game against Miami, and he was asked about the status of the ongoing negotiations between the team and receiver Julio Jones.
Jones, who led the NFL in receiving yards back in 2018, is seeking a contract extension, and the Falcons would like to reach a deal that will keep him in Atlanta for many years to come. Both sides have maintained that the conversations are in a good spot, and Dimitroff hinted that things might be settled sooner rather than later.
"He's in a great spot, we're in a great spot," Dimitroff said. "… I think it's around the corner." For more on the Julio Jones negotiations with the Falcons, click here.
Quinn explains decision to sit starters
After the game, Falcons coach Dan Quinn explained his reasoning for not playing a several veterans and starters. Quinn said the weather conditions on the field earlier in the day was a key factor in the decision not to play Matt Ryan, Mohamed Sanu, Keanu Neal and several other veterans. For more on that and the complete list of players who did not play, click here.
Competition for backup running back spot
Since the beginning of AT&T Training Camp, there has been a position battle for the backup running back spot and things have gotten even more interesting following the Falcons-Dolphins exhibition game.
Falcons' running backs Ito Smith, Brian Hill, Qadree Ollison and Kenjon Barner each have the opportunity to compete for the No. 2 running back position and make the final roster. All four running backs displayed their talents in Thursday's game, but there is still much to be considered between the three players by the coaching staff.
Although, Dan Quinn loves to see improvement from his players throughout the preseason. In a press conference he discussed seeing improvement from both Hill and Barner, who are considered to be versatile within their own skillset. For more on the position battle for the No. 2 running back spot, click here
Notable performances against the Dolphins
Along with Matt Schaub and the Falcons' running game, there were a number of notable performances Thursday night:
- Linebacker Jermaine Grace stood out, finishing with five tackles, three solo with an interception in the second quarter.
- Defensive lineman Austin Larkin came out the gate making plays in the first half, recording five tackles and picked up a sack on Dolphins' quarterback Josh Rosen in the first quarter.
- Falcons running back Kenjon Barner, and receivers Russell Gage and Kahlil Lewis made a few plays during the game. Barner finished the game with one reception for 37 yards. Gage came away with three receptions for 33 yards and made few highlight catches in the first half. Lewis came away with two catches for 43-yards. His longest caught pass was for 28 yards.
For those who want further analysis of Thursday's preseason game between the Falcons and Dolphins, check out an archive of our live blog, below.
Coming off a big performance in the Falcons-Dolphins exhibition game. Take a look at the best snap shots of the sixteen year quarterback during AT&T Training Camp.