FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The preseason is all about evaluating players, and Falcons coach Dan Quinn spent the better part of his weekend doing just that.
On Monday Quinn addressed the media and explained that he understands players are going to mistakes. And sometimes he's OK with that.
"I think the mistakes are an important part [of the evaluation process]," Quinn said. "And the reason I say that is you have to be going full speed. One of the messages I shared with the team is, 'If you're not [going full speed], I can't really tell if you're not really giving max effort or you're not sure.' And I'd rather see [a player] really hauling ass and say okay, there's something to work with this player if we can get the technique right or get the skill right, it's there. But if the player is too guarded and afraid to make a mistake, a player can look cautious in that way. So that's what I always try to be guarded for."
The Falcons now turn the page and prepare for their next exhibition game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday at 7 p.m. ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but here are some other things they had to say on Monday about their loss to the Jets.
How the offensive approach changes in the preseason
The Falcons didn't gain a first down on offense against the Jets until there was less than 20 seconds remaining in the first half, but that's not the end of the world. In fact, Quinn explained how the team's approach in the preseason changes a bit and it's something the fans might want to keep in mind.
"Sometimes we're trying to feature players and say, 'let's get a look to him or a look to him' as opposed to just calling what we would call, if that makes sense," Quinn said. "These evaluations are so important that you're kind of balancing the 'Okay, call a play to get [the ball] to this player,' but at the same time I still want to get a first down.
So, it's a little bit of a struggle at times. And I always choose, in this time, to say, 'Make sure we found out all we can about each of the guys. Stress them out.' There's a lot of truth that comes out in that stress, so we try to make that happen."
The Falcons' leading tackler vs. the Jets wants to work on his tackling
Second-year safety Damontae Kazee led the Falcons will 11 tackles against the Jets, but it's in that aspect of the game where he believes he needs the most work.
"I feel like everything went well," Kazee said of his performance. "The game kind of slowed down a bit now that it's my second year. But I need to improve on my tackling, still. Try to keep my head up, because that's a big emphasis this year. I've got to work on that a lot."
Notably, Kazee drew one of the three penalties in the game related to leading with his helmet – a new rule the NFL implemented over the offseason. Kazee admitted that he felt it was the right call, and that he is working to make sure it won't happen again.
Byrd's big catch came amidst 'jitters' he felt on his first offensive play
The second half of the Falcons-Jets game started with a bang as quarterback Kurt Benkert hit rookie receiver Dontez Byrd down the left sideline for a 27-yard gain, the longest play to that point for Atlanta.
Byrd was asked about that play Monday, and he revealed that it occurred on his very first offensive snap of the night.
"I had a lot of feelings going into that play," Byrd said. "It was my first play offensive-wise, so I had a lot of jitters. And once I got that catch I was just like, 'Let's go. What's next?'"
That was Byrd's longest reception of the night, and he caught both of the passes thrown his way against the Jets for a total of 35 yards.