We're a handful of hours away from kickoff in New York: Monday night football, Jets vs. Falcons, preseason game two (in case you forgot).
We've had two days of joint practices with the Jets. Now it's time to get to the real action. So, who are we watching? I'm glad you asked. Here are five that make my list (in no particular order):
1. Dee Alford
For the last week or so since Alford made one of the top plays of the game against Detroit, he's been given more responsibility and opportunities in Dean Pees' defense. Alford has been rotating in at nickel quite a bit throughout the last week of the preseason, even getting some first team reps when subbing in for Mike Ford on occasions.
Arthur Smith said after the Falcons first joint practice with the Jets that Alford had earned the opportunity for more reps. He added they want to see what Alford can do, so that means seeing more of him. If Alford continues to trend in this way, it leaves little room to question whether or not he'll make the initial 53-man roster. He should.
2. Abdullah Anderson
With Marlon Davidson reportedly to miss the remainder of the Falcons preseason, Atlanta is in need of depth within the defensive interior. Anderson is someone who may provide just that.
Over the course of the last week, Anderson has been playing a rotational role within the first team sub packages. There's a chance we could see a lot of Anderson on Monday night as coaches work to evaluate this position after injuries have reduced its numbers this preseason. If those evaluations for Anderson go well - with a heavy emphasis on his playing time on Monday night - we could be looking at a late bloomer to make the 53-man.
3. Troy Andersen
Another Anderson for you. This one is spelled with an "e," though.
Andersen did not make the trip to Detroit last week as he was dealing with - what he called - just a camp hang up. Back at 100 percent, Andersen has spent a lot of time with the second team defense throughout the last two days of joint practices. It'll be the first time we see the second round pick in a Falcons uniform with the green light to actually tackle someone. He's a player I am looking forward to seeing cut loose on Monday night.
4. Frank Darby
We're eight days away from the initial 53-man roster cut down, and someone who's right on the bubble is Darby. With Drake London out with the week with a knee injury, we've seen more and more of Darby with the first team offense. He's been working with Marcus Mariota a lot over the last week. This is good because we need to see Darby. The final draft pick of the 2021 class is fighting for a roster spot. Can he do something in the second preseason game that makes him stand out? We shall see.
5. Geronimo Allison
Let's stay in the wide receiver position group for a little while longer. Like Darby, Allison is another receiver working to stand out enough to make the cut.
Allison has flown relatively under the radar throughout training camp and into the first week of the preseason, but Monday night's game should be a good opportunity for him to be noticed a bit more. If he shows up against the Jets, one has to wonder how close he could be to earning a roster spot. If we're choosing between tall targets today, I'm taking Allison over Auden Tate.
Honorable mention: Bryan Edwards, Jaylinn Hawkins, Isaiah Oliver, KhaDarel Hodge, Tyler Allgeier, Drew Dalman, Jared Bernhardt, Desmond Ridder
Take a look as the team visits West Point the day before facing the Jets.
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