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Roam The Dome

Roughly 5 days and 23 hours until the NFL season begins. Ok, it may not truly begin but the preseason games do for the Atlanta Falcons. This weekend, the Falcons spent time in scrimmages that were open to the public in hopes of reaching more fans and giving us all a taste of what is to come in the coming season. I attended the Allstate All-Access Roam The Dome event on Saturday where I took pictures and notes on what this year’s team is doing.

First off, let me say that the Dome looked amazing. I can now easily tell what team plays in this venue and what team will be playing their in December for a conference championship. The outside looked great and the inside change of seats was even better. It almost made me begin looking to the season even more.

As for the scrimmage, the team was divided into two teams: white and red. The 1st team defense was on the red team as well as the 1st team offense. Here are a few points of interest I gathered from the day.

  • The name of the day seemed to be D.J. Shockley. Sure I might be a little biased, but he seemed to be cool and calm out on the field and easily moved the ball down the field against the 1st team defense. Out of all the QB’s, D.J. shined the best and truly made it seem like there could be a real fight between the QBs before the season begins. All of Shockley’s throws were on target and the incomplete throws were more an issue with the WRs not pulling in an easy to moderate catch more than a throwing issue.
  • As for the other QB’s, no one really shined. Matt Ryan’s first pass of the day was a horrible low thrown ball that was easily tipped at the line of scrimmage. He also threw an INT when his team was inside the 20 that was returned to the 5 by Blue Adams. It looked at times that Ryan was focusing on Roddy White too much instead of looking at the entire field. He could have been looking to relieve the magic of the night before where White and Ryan connected on a 65 yard TD pass.
  • The running backs looked great. The tandem of Norwood and Turner will be great. I really like the idea of two “starter” backs since you can use one to wear down a defense and then turn up the energy again in the second half with your second back. It worked well two years ago when Norwood was picking up between 6 to 8 yards a carry because of the tired second half defenses he was facing thanks to Dunn’s help. Jason Snelling looked good as well and a few good “power” runs (even though that’s difficult in a two hand touch scrimmage). For those also wondering, Thomas Brown did not look that great. I’m not sure if it was the plays he was given to show his skills but he was probably the least effective out of all the RBs. I’m hoping he is looked at more for his return abilities since the team seems to be looking for Adam Jennings on offense instead of returns.
  • With the return of Grady Jackson, the Falcons are switching to a 3-4 defense instead of their previous 4-3 (4 defensive linemen and 3 linebackers). However, I don’t see this defense being run on every play because Grady doesn’t have the stamina to work every play and I’m not sure if the other DTs are big enough to fill the hole that Grady fills. It did look nice to see that LBing core….
  • Linebackers. It seems that the once UGA notable Tony Taylor could have a chance at starting linebacker this season. He was on the 1st team defense and was playing MLB with Keith Brooking and Michael Boley playing on the opposite sides. John Abraham was the other defensive lineman who was dropping back to play LB when the 3-4 was run.
  • The race to fill the D. Hall spot looks to be a good one. Both Blue Adams and Brent Grimes looked decent in the scrimmage but we will have plenty of time to see their capabilities during the preseason games. I cannot offer my thoughts on Chevis Jackson’s scrimmage play because I did not see him (forgot to look). I’d like to see Grimes become great because he is coming from a Division II school just like his current mentor, Secondary coach and Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas.
  • Before scrimmage started, the defense was announced and stepped out of the tunnel individually. Each player performed a “dance” that was quite entertaining. One player (I forgot which), even gave the crowd a taste of the “Dirty Bird” again. Brent Grimes was the only player with no dance. His name was called and he played it straight and ran straight to the rest of his teammates. I will say that I don’t think I’d like to see Keith Brooking dance ever again unless it is due to a game winning INT returned for a TD.

Overall, I don’t think we, the Falcons, are as bad as everyone expects us to be, but I don’t think we should look for anything other than trying to compete in our own division. Let’s build the team for the year and look to the future for further improvement.  I’d say the first goal would be to get past the stigma of the Falcons not being able to produce back to back winning seasons.

Posted under Sports


Will Says:
August 4th, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Awww … Little Ben has grown up!

Accessing the nuances of the game of football. It just seemed like yesterday he couldn’t tell the Big 10 from the Big XII (Oh wait, he still can’t do that…)

Face it, the Falcons may look okay scrimmaging themselves but in the long run, against their schedule, this season is already one to forget.

And I think Lofton will go over Taylor. But whoever really expected Double T to be in this position in the first place?

Ben Says:
August 4th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

I knew you’d be proud, and thanks to Wikipedia I can learn more about the Big 10 and Big XII.

I will have to disagree with your inability in believe in the Falcons. This past season the Falcons should have had a few more wins (Panthers and Titans to name two). However, there were a few other problems that prevented it (D. Hall and Coach Who Shall Not Be Named).

We may not have believed T Squared (aka Double T, aka Tony Taylor) would ever make the team, but we must support him when we can. Lofton, for now, will need more time to become accustomed to the defensive scheme and Van Gorder (Defensive Coordinator) knows T Squared well.

Will Says:
August 5th, 2008 at 12:21 am

C’mon, any self respecting Falcons fan knows that T Squared is/was Tony Martin and Terrence Mathis.

Will Says:
August 6th, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Wait… TM Squared. Duh.

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