The Atlanta Falcons will head to Florida once again for an interesting matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday night. Typically the final game of preseason is a backup battle, but this one holds something special for both sides.
Mike Mularkey, who ran the Falcons offense last season, now sits at the helm of the Jaguars. On Atlanta’s side, Dirk Koetter holds Mularkey’s former post, and he will be facing off against his 2011 team as well. Both coaches are quite familiar with each squad, adding an extra storyline to the depth chart battles currently waging on.
NFL rosters narrow down to 53 spots on Friday, and multiple players are still vying for one of the final spots in Atlanta. The starters are not expected to play much, if at all, in this contest, so now is the time to shine for second and third-string. Here’s what you should keep an eye on tonight.
- Dominique Davis vs. Luke McCown: Davis really stepped up in his first three preseason games. Now that he’s ousted Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson on the depth chart, his only remaining competition for the No. 2 quarterback spot is McCown. This will be McCown’s first action with the Falcons, and could be his last if he doesn’t make the active roster on Friday. Will the Falcons decide to keep the rookie on as one of the final 53?
- Fifth wide receiver: No decision has been made on the Falcons fifth receiver slot. The position is very much up for grabs at this point, with six players attempting to find a spot on the team. Drew Davis and Kevin Cone lead the competition as far as the depth chart goes, but it’s anyone’s ballgame. Tim Toone looked good in the passing game and on special teams last week in Miami. Another solid outing could seal the deal for the former Mr. Irrelevant.
- Garrett Reynolds vs. Peter Konz: The Falcons first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft could be starting in Week 1. Konz looks as good as he was advertised so far, but Reynolds isn’t backing down. It’s still anyone’s game.
- Mike Cox vs. Lousaka Polite: Cox became the starter in 2011 when Ovie Mughelli went down with an injury. Polite is still behind Cox on the depth chart, but appears to have outplayed him so far in preseason action. The aren’t two spots on the roster for fullbacks, so one of these guys is going home after tonight.
- Who makes the cut among defensive backs: Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel are the only three who aren’t in jeopardy at this point. Dominique Franks will be kept, but he has not played well in 2012. After these four it becomes a mystery. Christopher Owens is still injured, and Mike Smith said this week that injuries would play in role in final roster decisions. Peyton Thompson has a compelling case for a spot. Marty Markett and Robert McClain could still be in consideration. There are a lot of questions left to be answered in the secondary that will pan out against the Jags.