The Atlanta Falcons will be making their final decisions on their 53 man roster and ten man practice squad, as well as the rest of the league, by August 30, 2014.
The Falcons have already trimmed down their roster to 75 guys by releasing the following players: DE Theo Agnew, LB Brendan Daley, LB Darin Drakeford, S Devonta Glover-Wright, WR Julian Jones, WB Jeff Mathews, LB Walker May, RB Jerome Smith, WR Tramaine Thompson, and TE Brian Wozniak.
This leaves 22 players, already including those who have been placed on injured reserve and the physically unable to perform lists, awaiting their final verdicts. The NFL announced on August 19th that the practice squad will be expanded from eight to ten players for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Preseason games are a time to re-acclimate veterans to the speed of the game as well as mental and physical conditioning. To free agent signings and rookies these games are the culmination of weeks in camp and possibly their final testing ground. They not only work together with their teammates, but also against them.
This preseason so far it seems that the coaches might be favoring Antone Smith over Josh Vaughn. Even though Vaughn in the past has received more carries, for a running back more carries usually equals more trust, Smith has always been a more explosive change of pace type of runner. Vaughn was involved heavily in the first preseason game but did almost nothing with the ball. Seven carries for one yard was his final stat line.
His role was reduced the second game and Smith actually got the workload of carries with eight carries for 27 yards. However Freeman is the clear cut favorite and will most likely split time with Jacquizz Rodgers leaving Vaughn and Smith to duke it out for the coveted third spot in the committee. Just in case Steven Jackson goes down again this season, which is a very real possibility. So far, rookie Geraldo Boldewijn has played in all three preseason games and has recorded at least one reception each game. This is a big accomplishment for him as it shows he is able to get open and produce on game days.
On defense, things are seemingly shaping up. Switching to more of a 3-4 style of defense, the Falcons have acquired a versatile group of young linebackers and defensive ends. This preseason is deathly vital for the defense. New system, new players, practically no cohesion and limited veteran experience. This leads me to believe that they will be adopting the mentality of win right now instead of build for the future. Not good news for a few of the young guys.
Either way you slice it, in less than a week the final cuts are to be made. After final cuts are made only ten will get to breathe a sigh of relief as they are signed to a respectable living on the practice squad.
Cut list predictions
CB Jordan Mabin
DT Donte Rumph
DT Cliff Matthews
G Adam Replogle
LB Tim Dobbins
RB Josh Vaughn
S Sean Baker
T Pat McQuistan
TE Jacob Pedersen
WR Courtney Roby
WR Freddie Martino
WR Jeremy Ebert