Traditionally the final preseason game is for a team to evaluate one last time the final players that will round out a roster. If the third preseason game is for the starters to get their final work in before the regular season begins, the fourth preseason game is the opportunity for players who fight for reps during training camp and the preseason to get extended playing time.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith said on Monday he's not yet decided how he will play his players or who will play against Jacksonville.
"It can go from not playing at all, to playing through the first quarter," Smith said. "It could be certain guys we're not going to play, certain guys we want to see. It's something we'll discuss tomorrow evening in our staff meeting. The guys are preparing like they're going to go out and all play."
In Smith's first preseason in 2008, rookie quarterback Matt Ryan, who was named the starter, played the first quarter. Michael Turner, signed during that offseason and a running back that has gone on to become one of the best in the league, also played during the first quarter of the final preseason game that season.
Players considered second-string in '08 played much of the second quarter before giving way to depth players in the second half.