Five things learned from Falcons’ mock game

The Falcons flashed their new offensive weapons, running back Todd Gurley and tight end Hayden Hurst, in a scrimmage on Friday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“It went good,” defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said. “It was a nice test run to see how things might be with the regular games coming up with no fans or limited fans. But it was good to go out there in a real game format against each other and get some good work in.”

The Falcons pumped in crowd noise and had their drum line playing music during breaks.

“I definitely enjoyed the crowd noise over dead silence,” Jarrett said. “We had a moment in there where it went straight silent and I was like oh my goodness. Please don’t let this happen. The crowd noise and the music was good to give a little life to the stadium.”

Gurley ran the ball strong, caught a couple of passes out of the backfield. He was clearly pleased with he blocking.

Gurley, who worked up a good sweat over the first two possessions, was animated and smiling during a talk with quarterback Matt Ryan on the sideline.

Hurst, who the Falcons acquired via a trade with Baltimore to replace Austin Hooper, flashed his speed on a deep route up the seam on the first unit’s second possession.

The Falcons scored three touchdowns and were stopped once in the simulated first half. Backup quarterback Matt Schaub added a score in the second half.

The team went in for halftime and came back up as they were trying to run through a game-day experience at the stadium.

Here are five things we learned from the Mock Game:

1. High red zone. The Falcons’ first-team offense opened with a nifty seven-play drive that featured Gurley and wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

Gurley had two nice runs, one out to the right and one up the middle on a draw. He also caught a pass out of the backfield.

On second-and-2 from the 34, Ryan tossed a touchdown pass to Ridley, who slipped behind rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell.

The Falcons studied their high red-zone offense over the offseason. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter noted that when they hit the opposition’s 31-yard line they were fine. But between the 35 and 31 he said, “We were terrible. We bogged down a lot.”

The goal was to eliminate the negative plays.

He had to be pleased with touchdown pass to Ridley.

2. Second team. The second-team offense was backed up at the 14-yard line to start their first drive.

Schaub hooked up with tight end Luke Stocker for a big gainer.

On third-and-6 from the 11, Schaub connected with undrafted rookie wide receiver Jalen McCleskey for a touchdown.

3. Hurst makes impact. On the first-team’s second drive, Hurst broke open for a big gainer.

Ridley got past cornerback Kendall Sheffield for another long-gainer.

Christian Blake made a red-zone catch before Gurley scored on a 2-yard run around right end.

4. Hofrichter update. The Falcons had to punt after Ken Benkert’s offense stalled.

On third-and-9 from the 36, defensive end Hinwa Allieu batted down the pass.

Hofrichter hit a 45-yard punt that had 4.17 seconds of hangtime.

On the fourth possession, Ryan’s offense went three-and out and Hofrichter punted from the 32. The punt went out of bounds to the left around the 30. The punt stayed in the air for 3.78 seconds.

His third punt from the opposing 48, went to the 14 on a flop punt. It had 4.05 seconds of hangtime.

His fourth punt from the opposing 47 went to the 16. He had 4.31 seconds of hang-time.

5. Green gets deep. Undrafted rookie wide receiver Juwan Green got open for 76-yard touchdown bomb from Schaub in the second half.

Rookie safety Jaylinn Hawkins bit on the play action fake and drifted toward the line of scrimmage. Green was outside to the right and got behind cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, who didn’t have any safety help after Hawkins vacated.

The speedy Green, who played at Albany (New York), raced on in for the score.

Green played in 14 games and had a school-record 83 catches for 1,386 yards and an FCS-leading 17 touchdown receptions. He had 15 catches for 245 yards and three touchdowns against Monmouth on Sept. 14.


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