It's a short week for the Falcons as they prepare to face the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome. The team is working hard in Flowery Branch to get ready for the game.
1. Which Ravens are you most excited to watch on Thursday?
JA: I'm not excited to see any Ravens on Thursday. For me, the focus in the preseason is always on the Falcons, and the fourth preseason game, while usually slagged as the least compelling of the exhibition slate, is so crucial for those bubble players. The Falcons starters likely won't play much, if at all, so the spotlight will really be on the players seeking to earn a roster spot or to put together that last bit of tape that could get them picked up elsewhere or placed on the practice squad. I'm excited for those guys because the realization of a lifelong dream really hinges on what happens during the next 60 minutes of game action.
KC: I am most excited to watch the Ravens wide receiver group, and Jeremy Butler in particular. Knowing that Thursday's game is the final preseason game, I don't expect the starters to take more than a few snaps, if any at all. The Ravens have an interesting situation at wide receiver as they don't seem to have clear cut No. 2 receiever who will line up across from Steve Smith Sr. quite yet. This means Marlon Brown and Jeremy Butler will probably play more than expected in the preseason finale. Right now, according the to depth chart, it seems that Kamar Aiken has taken the lead as the No. 2 receiever, but if Brown and Butler cap off their preseason with strong individual performances, it could get interesting.
AH: Although he won't play much, I'm excited to see Steve Smith, Sr. back at the Georgia Dome. He was a longtime Falcons rival, but I've always admired his work ethic, his physical abilities and his personality. Here's a guy who's had to say "I'm going to prove you wrong" over and over, and virtually every time, he's come out on top. You have to respect that.
2. What are your expectations for Rex Grossman as he makes his Falcons debut?
JA: I expect him to be the veteran presence he's been known to be. Members of the coaching staff have a past with him, so I don't think such a limited amount of game tape on him will affected him positively or negatively as we move into the weekend for final cuts. I do think he'll need to show that he still has the sharpness and athletic ability to run the offense should he ever be called on. In warmups and his practices, it's clear that he can still sling the ball around. He has a nice, crisp release and seems to have great accuracy. How that translates to the playing field is what I want to see, but again, he's not someone I'm terribly worried about because of the amount of experience under his belt. KC:I expect to see a lot of game action for Rex Grossman so the coaches can get a good evaluation of the quarterback. Game reps are completely different than practice reps, so I expect to see him play a majority of the game.
AH:I don't expect Grossman to light it up during his first appearance with Atlanta. That said, I'd like to see him be an effective game manager. Make smart throws. Avoid big mistakes. Show an understanding of the playbook. Move the ball downfield and allow the offense to remain balanced. If he can do all this, he'll put himself in a fantastic spot moving forward.
3. What do you hope to see from Tevin Coleman?
JA: I just hope to see some opportunities for him. The Dolphins' defensive front really hemmed him in during Week 3, so he had limited opportunity to get into open space and show what he can do. I want to see that change for him this week. Now that he's got that first taste of game action in the NFL, I expect the jitters to be worn away and for him to come out and confidently handle the carries he gets in Thursday's game. Putting up some decent numbers on the ground Thursday would really help give him a boost heading into the regular season, even though I still expect Devonta Freeman to be the starter when the Falcons take the field against the Eagles in Week 1. Coleman will get his carries during 2015 in support of Freeman, so getting him as much experience as possible, given the fact that he was sidelined the first two weeks of the preseason, is important.
KC: After listening to Dan Quinn talk after practice on Tuesday, he seemed really excited about how Tevin Coleman has been practicing. I think we will see a very strong showing from the rookie as he now has one NFL game under him. I think he will be very explosive, and I am excited to get a real look at him.
AH: I want to see him gain a sense of comfort. Coleman didn't an opportunity to develop a rhythm in Miami, and if he can do that against Baltimore, it'd build a lot of confidence in the new running game. I don't think he needs to rush for 100 yards to show fans he's ready; however, a couple long runs and a consistent effort would go a long way.
4. Over/under: number of touchdown passes – 2
JA:I'll take the over. The way the Falcons' run game has been going, unless something drastically changes this week, I'm expecting the air game to be where the Falcons earn most of their scoring opportunities.
KC: Over, I think this will be feature a lot of scoring from both teams. Players will be fighting for their roster spot, so I expect to see a high-level of intensity and with that should come a lot of scoring.
AH: I'll go with three TD passes.