Atlanta Falcons Preseason Finale: Roster Royal Rumble

The Atlanta Falcons finished the preseason with a 3-1 record, capped off by a 17-15 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.

Atlanta Falcons Preseason Finale: Roster Royal Rumble

The final score isn’t what matters here. Head coach Dan Quinn and his staff must determine who will round out the end of this 53-man roster with Week One of the regular season fast approaching.

The decisions wont come easy. The team has a healthy dose of competition at key positions such as quarterback, running back, wide receiver and defensive back.

With so much going on, here’s a look at how the players with the most to lose, or gain for that matter handled themselves in their final 2016 NFL auditions.

“Those are my quarterbacks”

Even if Matt Simms doesn’t make the 53 man roster, Falcons fans can sleep a little easier at night knowing that this is the best depth the team has had at quarterback since Matt Schaub was Michael Vick‘s backup in 2006.

The fourth-year quarterback balled out. Iif it wasn’t for Austin Hooper‘s two big drops that led to interceptions; Simms’ stat line would’ve looked a lot better to those stat-line scouts.


On the other hand, roster hopefuls J.D. McKissic and Nick Williams gave us their rendition of “Anything you can do, I can do better” as the pair of versatile pass-catchers made play after play.

Williams stole the spotlight early with a pair of catches off of play-action for more than 40 yards, followed by a nice punt return.

McKissic then proceeded to reel in a slick sideline toss from Simms for a 25-yard gain, and held on to a tough catch in traffic coming down at the goal line to setup one of Terron Ward‘s two touchdowns.

Ward was a warrior himself on this night. The third-string back toughed out an ankle injury en route to a hard earned 62 yards on 22 carries. Just prior to aggravating his ankle, Ward pulled off a sweet spin move in the middle of the field that left the would-be tackler in the dirt.

“The Replacements”

Speaking of spin moves, did anyone else see Ra’Shede Hageman attempt a spin move of his own? Emphasis on attempt. No one will be confusing him with Dwight Freeney any time soon.

Elsewhere on the defensive line Malliciah Goodman and Nordly Capi looked like formidable backups. Fighting for their jobs, the pair put on more edge pressure than the starting units usually provide.

Goodman used his power to consistently push back blockers and blow things up. Capi used impressive quickness to setup his counter moves and take down the ball carrier in the backfield (one sack, at least three hurries). I could easily see Capi seeing some reps at LEO with the first-team in the near future.


In the secondary, Akeem King was twice beaten by Shaq Evans, including a reception despite nice coverage, and again for a touchdown upon allowing a free release. But, the second-year man battled back. He made a big stop on third down across the middle in the second half showing the kind of work ethic expected by this coaching staff.

Robenson Therezie had himself a game. The dual-safety showed off his coverage skills when he went up and picked off Brandon Allen.

He also flashed his aggression when he sent Corey Grant flying with a heat-seeking tackle.

Unfortunately, it was followed by an undisciplined taunting penalty.

“Kickers are part of the team too!”

To cap things off in bittersweet fashion, kicker Shayne Graham missed his one and only field goal attempt with just over six minutes left to play. 32-yarders have to be “gimmes” if you’re trying to unseat the incumbent veteran. Especially when that veteran is named Matt Bryant. It looks like the trash talking kicker isn’t done scoring points in a Falcons jersey.

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