5 things to know before today’s Washington at Falcons kickoff

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons is pursued by Brandon Carr #39 of the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons is pursued by Brandon Carr #39 of the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Here are five things to mull over before today’s 1 p.m. kickoff between the Falcons (4-0) and the Washington Redskins (2-2) at Georgia Dome:

  1. Has Shanahan moved on? Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur coached in the same capacity with Washington from 2010-13 under Shanahan's father, Mike. They had a bumpy ride with quarterback controversies surrounding Donovan McNabb and then Robert Griffin III. They both may want to take a blow torch to Washington's defense.
  2. Who's getting the ball? It's a wonderful problem to have. But the Falcons may not have enough footballs. With running back Tevin Coleman coming back, Shanahan must figure out a way to split the carries with Devonta Freeman, who likes to get into a rhythm. Also, we'll need to watch and see if Roddy White gets any more targets. Julio Jones was downgraded to questionable on Friday. We'll be at the stadium early to get an update. The inactives come out 90 minutes before kickoff, which is plenty of time to pull him from your fantasy lineup if he's out. (With the Saints game on Thursday and the Washington secondary depleted, it may not be a bad move to sit him.)
  3. Allen to start at free safety. Ricardo Allen, who had his left calf heavily taped in practice on Friday will return to the starting lineup after missing one game with a knee injury. Rookie Robensen Therezie, who made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent from Auburn, started and played well last week against the Texans.
  4. Washington's top receivers are out. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) both were declared out of the game by Redskins coach Jay Gruden. Pierre Garcon will serve as the top receiver for quarterback Kirk Cousins. He's tied with Reed for the team lead in catches with 24. Reed has been Cousins' security blanket.
  5. Riggs to be honored. Former running back Gerald Riggs, who was inducted into the Falcons Ring of Honor in 2013, will be honored during the game. The Falcons are toasting one of their former players during their 50th anniversary season. Riggs was selected by the Falcons as the ninth overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft out of Arizona State. He was a three-time Pro Bowler in his seven seasons in Atlanta and finished his Falcons career as the franchise's all-time rushing leader with 6,631 rushing yards. Riggs tallied 48 career touchdowns, which puts him second in team history in terms of rushing touchdowns and fifth in overall touchdowns. Riggs' name litters the Falcons record books as he was one of the most prolific rushers of his time. "Gerald Riggs is without question one of the greatest players in the history of our franchise," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. "He was one of the finest players of his time and left an indelible mark on this club as our all-time leading rusher."


How did the Falcons get to 4-0?

Here's a look back at the game stories, news and notes from their victories over the Texans (48-21), Cowboys (39-28), Giants (24-20) and Eagles (26-24).

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones makes a reception against Texans linebacker Benardick McKinney during the first half in a football game on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Atlanta. The Falcons beat the Texans 48-21 to improve their record to 4-0. Curtis Compton

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

TEXANS GAME COVERAGE -- Falcons 48, Texans 21

How the Falcons hammered the Texans -- Quarter by Quarter

5 things we learned from the Falcons' 48-21 win over the Texans

Devonta Freeman stars again for the Falcons

What the Falcons had to say after pummeling the Texans

9 comments from Dan Quinn on the Falcons' victory

Jeff Schult'z column: Devonta Freeman, 7 TDs -- who didn't see that coming

Schraeder, Matthews keep Watt in check

Hankerson turns in a 100-yard receiving day (second of his career)

Houston's J.J. Watt tips hat to the Falcons

Former Falcons great Jessie Tuggle honored during Texans game

COWBOYS GAME COVERAGE -- Falcons 39, Cowboys 28

Falcons 39, Cowboys 28 -- Quarter by Quarter

5 things we learned from the Falcons' 39-28 win over the Cowboys

Mark Bradley's short takes: Julio, Freeman and the defense

Devonta Freeman is catalyst for Falcons run game

QUOTEBOARD: What the Falcons had to say after beating Dallas

Julio Jones does it again: 12 catches, 164 yards and two touchdowns

Mark Bradley column: A dominant half shows what he Falcons could be

Offensive line cracked the run-game code

Ryan directed second-half fireworks show

Beasley help lead resurgence on defense

Where's Falcons wide receiver Roddy White?

GIANTS GAME COVERAGE -- Falcons 24, Giants 20

Falcons 24, Giants 20 -- Quarter by Quarter

5 things we learned from Falcons' 24-20 win over the Giants

Mark Bradley column -- Don't stop believin': Dan Quinn's men are 2-0

A record day for Julio Jones: 13 receptions

Kroy Biermann: 'We're a ball-attacking team'


5 things we learned from Falcons' upset win over Eagles

Matt Ryan leads Falcons to 26-24 win over the Eagles

Jeff Schultz column: An impressive debut by Quinn's new Falcons

Mark Bradley column: A new year: The Falcons dig deep and hang on

Julio Jones moves into fifth on Falcons' all-time receiving list

Tevin Coleman powers new rushing attack

Ricardo Allen seals victory in first start at free safety

4 questions with Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones after the game

Falcons' revamped offensive line shows positive signs

Falcons quotes after their victory over the Eagles

Falcons-Eagles: By The Numbers