Atlanta, Ga- The Atlanta Falcons head home for the first time this season as they are set to take on the Kansas City Chiefs inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium for week 2 of NFL preseason.
Looking to bounce back from a disappointing 17-0 loss to the New York Jets in their first preseason game, the Falcons will need their offense to get going prior to the start of the regular season.
The Falcons hope that playing in front of their fans will give them a boost, and head coach Dan Quinn spoke on the excitement of getting to play in front of their fans saying, “We’re making progress and we’re looking forward to seeing the guys do this on Friday night. We spoke this morning, we’re so pumped to be here at home and to be in front of the fans. We got a little taste of it when we had our practice there but for us to have our game there, it’s practice for us too. And for them to, to make it as loud and as wild of an environment as it can be. We’re really pumped to see them and we can’t wait for Friday night.”
Last week, coach Quinn held out star wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman from playing. When asked if they would be available this week Quinn responded, “I haven’t made a final determination for that. So, we’ll see where it goes before the game. If they do, make sure you’re at your seats early. We’ll make a determination as we get closer to [the game]. Both of them are having a fantastic camp and they’ll be available likely but I’ll see where we are on game day.”
If both Jones and Freeman are available, it will be a great chance for the Atlanta starters to get reps at full force and get things clicking. Regardless if they are playing or not, however, quarterback Matt Ryan will try to get the offense on track under second-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
The player to watch on offense is rookie quarterback Kurt Benkert. Coming out of the University of Virginia, Benkurt was impressive in his debut against the Jets, completing nine of his 17 passes for 120 yards. The rookie will look to solidify the backup quarterback position for the Falcons, and after receiving positive reports throughout training camp, might do just that.
The young and talented Falcons defense was the biggest positive from the first preseason game that saw Atlanta hold the Jets to just 260 total yards of offense. It was a great first showing for a squad that is looking to the take the next step as one of the best defensive units in the NFL. The preseason allows teams to develop depth throughout the roster and the Falcons will look to keep developing quality throughout the defense in their second preseason appearance.
Second-year safety Damontae Kazee will be the player to watch on the Falcons defense after leading the team (and the entire NFL) with 11 tackles last week against the Jets.
With three preseason games left before the start of the 2018 NFL season, teams will begin to give additional playing time to their starters. While game score results don’t count towards anything, it is a great time to tune in and see how players and teams are coming together as the regular season is approaching fast.
The Falcons and Chiefs will kick-off from Mercedes-Benz Stadium Friday night at 7 p.m.