The Atlanta Falcons spent Thursday morning wrapping up preparations for their first preseason game against the Titans on Friday in the Georgia Dome. Here are a few pictures from the day.
The Beginning of the Dan Quinn Era:Head coach Dan Quinn will be making his debut on the Georgia Dome sidelines on Friday night. From the moment Quinn stepped foot in Atlanta, he guaranteed that the Atlanta Falcons will play fast and physical no matter what. You can expect to see a stronger and faster Falcons team this year. Quinn and his coaching staff have spent a significant amount of time making sure the team will concentrate on two things: playing hard and finishing every play.
"I hope that the first thing that jumps out to these fans is, man, do they play hard," Quinn said. " I hope there would be an element where they say, man, these guys are tough and trying to outhit people. I hope there are some finish opportunities for us, whether it's at the end of the half, or the end of the game to display that as well. I hope we are going to play fast and physical."
Starters Will Get Some Reps:More often than not, starters around the NFL see very little action in the first preseason game. This won't be the case at the Georgia Dome on Friday night. As Quinn and his coaching staff continue to evaluate their players, they want to see how they compete against other teams. Quinn didn't say how long the starters will play for, but he did say that some starters need more time than others, and will allow for that.
"I don't want to give a series or a quarter or count," Quinn said. "Some starters need more work than other starters. So it's not like a blanket assessment, if that makes sense. There are some guys who will be more game-ready based on their experience and years past than other guys. I don't know if it will be a wholesale by group, if that makes sense. Not to say one or the other, but individually."
Key Matchup to Watch: Vic Beasley Jr. vs. Marcus Mariota-All eyes will be on this matchup. The Falcons' first-round draft pick will be given a very tough assignment in his debut at the Georgia Dome. The rookie will be asked to disrupt Titans quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. Both Beasley and Mariota will try to live up to their respective expectations and this matchup features two of the top eight picks of the 2015 NFL Draft. Dan Quinn offered praise to the rookie quarterback when asked what it will be like to face Mariota.
"Well number one, we love the competitor and the speed, and his ability to take care of the ball," Quinn said. "Something from the defensive coaches that I noticed about him I thought was really strong. I think just the overall athleticism, and the accuracy, those are the things that really jump out to me. I'm sure he's ready to go, too. What a great first chance for him to come in and for us too, so we're looking forward to that matchup."
Identifying the 2015 Atlanta Falcons:For a team with a new head coach and new offensive and defensive systems, preseason games can provide a lot of value. Quinn and his coaching staff have instilled the importance of competition within the Falcons locker room, and he expects to see that out of all of his players come Friday.
"There's so many guys who are going through different stages at where they're at and trying to represent for themselves and for their teammates," Quinn said. " From the guy who's trying to make the club, to the guy who's really trying to get his skills sharp. I think it's totally important for each guy to represent for one another with the style and the attitude that they can play with. 'Can you count on me to play in this fashion all the time?' Yeah, so I think it's really important."