Skip to main content

Five Things We Learned vs. Cincinnati

1. What, Me Worrilow? It was no secret that the Falcons had competition at linebacker heading into Thursday's game against the Bengals. What wasn't expected was who emerged as one of the leaders among the young crew of linebackers on this year's squad. A name you heard over and over Thursday was that of undrafted rookie linebacker Paul Worrilow, a University of Delaware product. Worrilow wrapped up the night with 11 tackles, one for a loss and added one additional stop on special teams. Worrilow's 11 tackles were a team high and the rookie said a good week of practice with the Bengals helped him feel confident entering Thursday. Worrilow did what every young linebacker wants to do and in doing so he's given his coaching staff some things to consider: "I felt like I was doing a good job getting to the ball. It's always exciting when you get a chance to have an impact on the game. That's everybody's goal going in, to affect the game through your assignments."       

2. Davis Still Learning: It was an up and down night for second-year quarterback Dominique Davis. He said earlier in the week that he hoped to use his No. 2 QB reps this preseason to get better and earn the trust of his teammates. Matt Ryan started the game and played the first quarter before giving way to Davis in the second. He had a rocky start and at one point was 2-for-7 passing with an interception, but he settled down and put a touchdown drive together in the third quarter. The interception, he said, was the result of a bad decision and he sees where better judgment could have changed the result: "It was a bad decision. I was trying to do too much and trying to be too much of a playmaker. Sometimes you've got to just throw it away and down on the damage and I didn't do that."

3. Davis Good Option At No. 4: The leading receiver on the night was Drew Davis, who caught two passes for 53 yards, including a long of 31 yards from Ryan in the first quarter. Davis was a bright spot at wide receiver last year after making the team as an undrafted rookie. Although the Falcons are fine at the top with their wide receivers, they'd like stronger depth throughout the roster and Davis is steadily showing that he can be that kind of player. Davis appears to be separating himself as the No. 4 wideout on the roster and becoming a reliable player capable of stepping up should injuries take out one of the Falcons' top receivers.

4. Mo' Mass: He didn't celebrate much, but no one would've blamed him if he had after a one sack night and another that didn't hold up because of a penalty. Massaquoi led a young group of second stringers along the defensive line and the concerns about the pass rush may be waning a little after Thursday. The young D-linemen combined for six tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits and they may be what the Falcons need to support the pass rush. Massaquoi said he and the young guys feel a responsibility to perform when they get their chances: "I was here in the same situation last year entering my first preseason, so coming back as a sophomore it's expected of me to go out and make plays and be a leader on that second team. All I can do is continue to work on my craft and hopefully get that respect as a pass rusher week in and week out."

5. Young CBs Show Up: Desmond Trufant started the game with the first-string defense, manning the outside corner spot across from Asante Samuel. When the Falcons went into their nickel, Robert McClain joined the duo in the slot. Trufant ended the game with three tackles, but most importantly looked solid on the field. His fellow rookie Robert Alford also put in a good night of work, flashing the all-over-the-field kind of play we've seen from his so far in training camp. He chipped in three tackles, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed. He also saw time as a punt returner. Trufant got his "welcome to the NFL" moment out of the way early, getting the first tackle on defense, but getting hit hard in the process: "That was exactly what I needed. It's ironic because my brother, his first preseason game, something similar happened to him. It's good. It's a learning experience and I'm still adjusting to the game, but I felt I did pretty good out there."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content