The Atlanta Falcons kicked off the regular season in the Georgia Dome against the Philadelphia Eagles in a Monday Night Football matchup. Here are photos from the game.
Another '08 Selection: When the Dolphins held the first overall pick in the 2008 Draft, they had a choice between tackle Jake Long and quarterback Matt Ryan. Miami went with the former, and eight years later, those two are both members of the Falcons.
Strong Background: Although a rash of injuries have taken its toll on Long, he nonetheless joins Atlanta with an excellent résumé. A four-time Pro Bowler, the 6-foot-7, 315-pound veteran dominated opposing defenses from 2008 through 2011. Unfortunately he's suffered a pair of torn ACLs, which has resulted in two lengthy stints on IR. He hasn't taken a regular season snap since Oct. 26, 2014.
Cleared for Action: Though it's unclear what Long is capable of physically, he has been medically cleared to play by Dr. James Andrews. It'll be interesting to see how well he moves and how well his knees look. Atlanta's O-linemen are asked to run a lot, and if he can keep up, Long should have appeciable value.
Improved Depth: Long will provide some added depth to the tackle position, which had been somewhat thin of late. Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder have rightfully earned starting roles, but if one goes down, Long may get a chance to step in. Given the number of injuries Atlanta's O-line has dealt with of late, it's assuring to know there's another high-potential option the 53-man roster.
Wolverine Legacy: Long thrived at the University of Michigan, where he became a consensus All-American and Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2006 and 2007. He co-captained the team as a senior and also received the Jim Parker Trophy, awarded annually to the best O-lineman in college football.